Late last year, the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority released its proposed guidance on the mandatory education pathways for existing and new financial advisers. The new rules effectively shift the industry towards the base requirement of tertiary education, and require certain units — such as ethics and technical training — to be completed.
Given there is no carve-out for accountants or limited licensees in the guidance from FASEA, The Fold Legal solicitor director Jaime Lumsden Kelly said it is expected that the new standards will also affect accountants operating under limited and full AFSLs.
“If we look at the base principles, essentially the education standards are going to apply to anyone who is an employee or an authorised representative of a licensee where they are also authorised to give personal advice to retail clients for all products except the handful that are exempt, [such as] insurance,” Ms Lumsden Kelly explained.
The finer details, including types of degrees and coursework that will be acceptable, are yet to be set in stone.
“What we do know about the education standards is that a bachelor's degree that is approved by the standards body which is FASEA, will meet the requirement. [However], at the moment, FASEA hasn't really approved any degrees,” she said.
“A lot of degrees that accountants have probably aren’t going to hold — there are some bachelor's of accounting degrees on there, but not many,” she cautioned.
“Certainly some degrees offered by some of the major universities are not listed.”
Ms Lumsden Kelly said it is unclear at this stage at whether FASEA intends to add additional degrees that will benefit accountants.