Incoming standards, set by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA), will require most licensed advisers to complete a bridging course by 2024. This is irrespective of their tertiary or postgraduate qualifications.
The Financial Planning Association (FPA), which is a long-time supporter of raising minimum education standards, believes FASEA’s guidance to date fails to recognise those professionals who have completed significant additional training.
“We believe FASEA’s latest proposal does not give sufficient recognition to financial advisers who have completed a degree and undertaken additional studies in financial planning. Failure to recognise study completed by existing financial planners is likely to reduce the availability of financial planners and drive up costs for consumers,” said FPA chair Neil Kendall.
This echoes the view of accounting bodies like Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, which is currently in talks with FASEA to have prior learning further recognised.
“Generally speaking, accountants who have operated in this area have done it for a long time. Those people with 20-plus years' experience should be recognised as having different credentials to someone that has just got a degree and RG146,” said CA ANZ senior policy adviser, Bronny Speed, late last month.
“Surely those years and those extras equate to something,” she said.
Another ongoing point of contention is that the new guidance does not distinguish between those operating under a limited licence and a full AFSL, meaning accountants providing basic SMSF advice will be — as it stands — expected to do the same training as those providing holistic advice.
Licensing specialists like Jeremy Danon, director at Ariel & Associates, are calling on SMSF professionals to lobby their professional accounting body before the laws come into effect in 2024.
“I think it is imperative that accountants start lobbying their professional body and ensure that these organisations act in the best interests of their members — something they failed to do during the limited licensing transitional period,” Mr Danon said.