Under the new education standards, to provide advice under an AFSL, practitioners are required to complete a bachelor, or higher or equivalent qualification.
The Financial Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) issued a determination last week, which included a list of current and historical degrees approved by FASEA. This determination will be updated on an ongoing basis, as additional courses are approved.
This determination makes no material difference to accountants who already hold an AFSL as at 31 December 2018, according to Hayes Knight director and Knowledge Shop founder Greg Hayes. However, it does provide clarity on the requirements for new accountants who are planning to incorporate financial planning advice into their careers.
FASEA has added to the approved list the Bachelor of Commerce (Finance and Financial Planning) at Curtin University; and Western Sydney University’s Bachelor of Accounting Financial Planning or Financial Planning and Taxation, and Master of Financial Planning.
You can read more about the determination in full here.
Despite this update, there is a continued frustration from the profession about existing qualifications not being recognised by FASEA as prior learning.
This means all accountants currently providing financial advice, whether it be under a full or limited AFSL, will have to complete further study to comply with the new regulatory environment. In many cases this will be up to three units of tertiary study, and those units will likely crossover with study completed to achieve a professional designation.
The sore point for professional bodies in particular is that their courses are not wholly recognised as prior learning.
“Throughout all our submissions, Chartered Accountants ANZ has strongly urged FASEA to recognise the long hours of rigorous study that is required to gain and maintain CA membership,” financial planning lead at CA ANZ, Bronny Speed, told Accountants Daily.
“Our CA program is highly aligned with FASEA’s integrated model approach to raise education, training and ethical standards of financial advisers to improve trust and confidence.
“We are therefore continuing to encourage FASEA to recognise us as a group of professionals who are well-placed to serve the interests of mums and dads, and the small business communities across Australia.”
Next moves for CA ANZ
Accountants Daily understands FASEA has invited professional associations to have their courses approved for prior learning.
In theory, this would mean further study would be reduced for accountants with a professional designation under the new education regime.
CA ANZ is currently working on its application and, should it be successful, members will need to complete one tertiary-level unit in ethics, as opposed to three.
FASEA has been contacted for comment.