FPA lobbies government to extend FASEA deadlines
The Financial Planning Association of Australia has requested the government provide advisers with additional time for meeting both the exam and the education standards set by FASEA.
In a document seen by SMSF Adviser sister title ifa, the FPA said it is requesting the government to extend the deadline for passing the FASEA exam by 12 months to 1 January 2022 in order to restore the full two-year period for financial planners to study for and take the exam.
It has also asked the government to extend the deadline for meeting the FASEA education standard by 24 months to 1 January 2026.
The exam standard
Remarking on the exam standard, the FPA noted that former minister for revenue and financial services Kelly O’Dwyer committed to giving advisers a period of two years from 1 January 2019 to study for and take the exam.
However, the FPA said the rollout of the exam has been delayed, along with supporting elements for the exam including reading and study material, bridging courses and a guidance document for the code of ethics.
“The first exam sitting was only held in June 2019 and was only available in capital cities. Financial planners in regional areas will have to wait until 2020 for the exam to be available in their area through digital delivery,” the FPA said.
“It will take between six and eight weeks to get the results of the exam, meaning planners will not be able to rely on sitting the exam after October 2020, as they will not receive the results before the deadline.”
The education standard
The FPA said it is requesting that FASEA urgently settle its decisions on recognition of prior learning for all outstanding professional certifications and reconsider providing credit for experience and training through continued professional development.
It said FASEA has still not settled its recognition for prior learning, and many planners do not know how much study they will need to complete, and that it has yet to make a decision on recognising some professional certifications, including its CFP 1-4 certification held by many experienced advisers.
Further, the FPA noted that FASEA only approved the first round of bridging courses and graduate diploma programs in June 2019.
“Advisers who need to complete a full eight-unit graduate diploma will need to complete two units per year for the next four years, with no potential to accommodate a break in study for business, family or personal health reasons,” it said.
The code of ethics standard
The FPA added that there is “considerable uncertainty” around the Code of Ethics, which was released in February 2019, how the code will apply in practice, and that FASEA promised to release a guidance document to address this uncertainty, but this has yet to occur.
As a result, the FPA has pushed the government to release its Code of Ethics guidance document as soon as possible and then work with code monitoring schemes on any unresolved elements of the code.
“It is vital that FASEA releases its guidance document for consultation as soon as possible to resolve some of these issues,” the FPA said.
“Advisers need certainty and time to prepare their businesses for compliance on 1 January 2020.
“Where FASEA is unable to provide additional guidance, it should allow for code monitoring schemes to apply the Code in a manner that is consistent with industry best practice and established norms.”
The FPA also said that FASEA has yet to release a promised guidance document on how it will apply in practice, and that bridging courses on the Code of Ethics won’t be available until late 2019.
“The consequences for the exam are severe. Each attempt at passing the exam will cost a planner $540, and failure to pass the exam in time will result in them losing their jobs, careers and/or businesses,” it said.