60 hours compulsory eduction: “Time running out” to fix TASA issues

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Time is running out to fix critical issues with TASA, including problems with the proposal to force advisers into 60 hours of continuing professional development, according to the AFA.
 
COO Phil Anderson told Wealth Professional of the AFA’s concerns about the legislation, following last week’s article outlining the proposals that appeared in the Tax Practitioners Board exposure draft.
 
The draft called for submissions to be lodged over the next month.
 
It proposes that financial advisers be required to complete at least 60 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) over a three year period, with no less than six hours being carried out in any given year.
 
Anderson said that the 20 hours a year requirement is a lot, particularly for advisers for whom tax advice is an insignificant part of what they do.
 
“Whilst we support increasing the levels of education and training on taxation matters, we are concerned that one standard is being set for all, including those who provide a very limited level of taxation advice,” he said.
 
AFA does appreciate that the 20 hours do not need to be on top of what advisers are already doing under their AFSL obligations providing it includes a taxation element, Anderson said.
 
He added that there are other critical things that still need to be resolved with TASA, which include who needs to register with the TPB.
 
“[This] will obviously impact upon the requirements for who needs to undertake CPD activity. Under the ‘sufficient numbers’ requirement, not every adviser will need to be registered.”
 
The CPD obligation on top of the up-front training required for TASA will likely generate frustration among advisers, particularly with many other currently looming regulatory changes and demands, Anderson said.
 
“The AFA is conscious that there is much still to be resolved on TASA and we are concerned that time is rapidly running out to get all these issues finalised,” he said.
 
The TPB considers that this is an important way for registered tax (financial) advisers to maintain and build upon their primary qualifications that were used to gain the initial registration under TASA, which will be implemented from 1 July 2014.

The CPE period will begin on the date the adviser is registered, and end the day it expires, which is generally every three years. If the adviser’s registration period is different from the normal three years, the TPB said the adviser should complete CPE on a pro-rata basis. 
 
Last week comments to Wealth Professional about the CPD proposals were mixed.
 
A few commenters felt that the requirements would be no great hardship as they were already completing close to or more than the 20 hours per year.
 
Others, like Matt, said that the extra hours just for tax education would be a burden.
 
“We are required to do 30 hours [per annum]. To add another 20 hours in addition to the extra study we will require to get a TP qualification is a bit of overkill, especially if they want 20 hours just on tax,” he said. 

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