The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA), which is setting the federal government’s mandated education requirements for advisers and accountants with an AFSL, today marked its plans to recognise the prior learning of those with specialist designations and tertiary qualifications related to financial services.
This has been an extreme sore point for the accounting and planning communities, who are facing thousands in fees for bridging courses which crossover with training they’ve already done, and mandated training which can’t be used in practice.
Accountants Daily reported last year that FASEA had written to the major professional bodies, inviting them to consult about having their designations and CPD training realised as prior learning. FASEA chief executive Stephen Glenfield confirmed this today at the SMSF Association’s national conference in Melbourne.
Speaking to SMSF Adviser earlier today, former chief executive of FASEA, Deen Sanders, explained FASEA has the mechanisms to recognise specialisations, and the specific learnings of more niche advice professionals.
“The law doesn’t stipulate that the outcome is that there is a minimum requirement that all participants must adhere to that’s the same. But it is certainly the way FASEA has chosen to, at least do the phase one work is: what do we have to do that covers most people?” said Mr Sanders.
“Currently, FASEA hasn’t dealt with life insurance specialists, or SMSF specialists, or stockbrokers, and those other areas of specialisations that might be appealing in terms of the marketplace,” he said.
“It’s a matter for the board to consider what role it wants to play in identifying future specialisations and opportunities,” he said.
Mr Sanders stressed this recognition relates only to education requirements, specific licensing considerations are a matter for ASIC.
The new education requirements have been a significant point of concern for the accounting industry, with a Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand survey revealing that 60 per cent of its members providing financial advice would drop the offering.
“The feedback we have received from members is that if FASEA doesn’t respect what Chartered Accountants have already completed and undertake on an ongoing basis, then many will reconsider their future in the industry and will likely exit,” said senior policy adviser at CA ANZ Bronny Speed last year.
Industry polling by Accountants Daily showed that over three-quarters of respondents would either stop providing advice or refer them to a financial planning firm, if the education changes go through in their current form.