Speaking at the SMSF Association National Conference FASEA chief executive Deen Sanders said the amended Corporations Act did not distinguish accountants from financial advisers and covered both as long as they were providing advice.
“In a simple sense, this act responds to what is identified as relevant providers, so that’s distinguishing the way that advisers work. The Corporations Act in its original form mentioned different types of things like limited advice but this act doesn’t distinguish - anybody giving personal financial advice on financial products is a relevant provider, doesn’t matter whether you’re under a limited or full licence,” said Mr Sanders.
“This is an immediate, current understanding – this will evolve as we get closer to implementation and ASIC will obviously be the authority for responsible for identifying how that works, but importantly from our perspective, we consider this to be advice for everyone who fits into the definition of relevant provider.”
Under the new requirements, all relevant providers must have a relevant bachelor or higher degree, or equivalent qualification, and FASEA’s education guidance released last December proposes that an AQF7 qualification, which is equivalent to a three-year full-time university degree, or an AQF8 qualification, which is equivalent to a postgraduate certificate, will be required.
There have been concerns from the accounting industry over the approved education qualifications recognised by FASEA, but Mr Sanders has urged for calm as more guidance will be soon released.
“Many of you I assume are an adviser with an AQF7 or above qualification but it is not an approved qualification or is from something unrelated [in a different field],” said Mr Sanders.
“You have choices - you may choose to wait until we've released the degree equivalence requirements. That wait we've flagged in the paper that would be out before the end of this calendar year but having heard the anxiety and responded to those concerns, the FASEA board and the organisation have accelerated that thinking and are working very hard to produce something for you as soon as we possibly can.
“We hope to give you an answer of that literally in the next number of weeks,” he added.
“We will also provide you with an idea of bridging courses and other solutions. I can give you comfort that all of those things are part of that consideration.”