Calls for RG 146 to be beefed up

by |

The first institution to be accredited under new financial planning education council guidelines has reported steady numbers of financial planning undergraduates – despite declining numbers throughout the business department overall.

Griffith University associate professor for finance Mark Brimble says that they currently have at least a few hundred students at the undergraduate level studying financial planning, not including their Gold Coast or Brisbane campuses. Brimble says the new guidelines for planners, set out by the Financial Planning Education Council, are helping to strengthen the curriculum – in particular, the development of communication skills and client interaction skills.

“In financial planning it’s a little bit different because, up until now, we haven’t had that defined pathway from degree to profession that the other professional bodies had…Now with the Financial Planning Education Council setting out national standards and guidelines for degrees and skills of students as a pathway to membership of the FPA, we’ve got clear guidelines for all universities and other education providers to follow.”

Brimble is hoping to see the new professional standards flow through the industry, and has been eagerly awaiting ASIC’s consultation paper on increasing the Australian qualification levels of RG 146.

“When you look at things like RG 146, they’re at such a low level in terms of being a level five diploma – which as we know, people have been able to cover off in three weeks. You compare that to a 24 course, three-year full-time degree…

“If the profession wants to say to the community at large that it’s OK to do three weeks of training and then become a financial planner, then one would anticipate that consumers would respond accordingly,” says Brimble.

“Quite frankly, those two- or three-week courses really don’t provide a good enough grounding for the complexity with what financial planners have to deal with these days – both with technical issues of dealing with products and advice, and all the issues of dealing with clients and engaging clients effectively in relationships.

“That’s the feedback we get from the businesses that recruit out students, they’re very happy with how well they are prepared and the level of knowledge they have, as opposed to the past where students have come in with a low level of knowledge and learnt a lot of it on the job."

Although ASIC has signalled that they’re increasing the levels of RG 146, the community will have to wait for the consultation paper to see if it will be taken to a degree level. First due in September, it has been pushed back to February, and last Brimble heard, it was due mid-March.

More stories:

Attention planners: you've got homework to do

Mandatory degree another step towards professionalism

A historic day for financial planning

  • MICK on 5/04/2013 12:20:29 PM

    I completed the RG146 course 3 years into my career as a Planners Assistant. I already had the knowlage i needed to get started in the industry but not the Qualification.. yes RG146 taught me what i already knew. but it was a better option than going to uni full time for atleast 2 years then starting again. maybe instead of "Beefing it up" there should be a Qualifying test or proven experience in the industry. Im all for a profesional industry ... but really most of us are glorified salesmen/women

  • Jeff M on 4/04/2013 8:54:52 AM

    I would also like to add that during your studies you are taught knowledge and skills and the education is learnt from undertaking the role. The same applies to current RG146 or a University degree and yes its the Dealers Licence holders responsibility to ensure their authorised representative maintain currency in their qualifications. They must also ensure ongoing education by way of CPD and other in house training and guidance and if that is all done then its all down to human behaviours.

  • Patrick F on 4/04/2013 6:36:27 AM

    Agree with Jeff M's frustrations with some of this articles statements above.

    Overall, I agree that a degree should be a base level requirement for future entrants. We'll never be a respected as a profession when you can get in with anything less.

  • Neil on 3/04/2013 11:11:49 AM

    I would like to echo Karen's remarks. I am in the same boat. Could not agree more.

  • Jeff M on 2/04/2013 5:37:04 PM

    More head line grabbing articles "3 weeks to complete a Diploma and that was delivered by whom, or was it three weeks face to face with 12 months to complete. Please lets just stop stating things, if you have facts then place those facts to the RTO concerned and ask them for their response would be the first place. Also the RG146 is more than enough for any one to complete and enter the industry, its just no one can control the behaviours of the ones that seek to set outside their learnings. Also to prevent anyone from entering the industry unless you have University qualifications is a nonsense. I undertook my RG146 became a CFP and its all about putting into practice what has been taught.

  • BDM on 2/04/2013 5:21:56 PM

    RG146 is a joke, as long as there are "fast track courses" allowing those with no relevant experience to qualify in under two weeks - we are hardly able to call ourselves a profession. The sooner this aligns with tertiary qualifications the better.

    Think we need to model ourselves on other professions such as law and medicos around obtaining, qualifications plus experience.

  • Karen on 2/04/2013 11:10:37 AM

    Forgot to mention I have just spent the last 3 years studying the CFP Certification course (1 subject to go). This does not count for anything when it comes to RG146 as it is not a listed accredited course...

  • Karen on 2/04/2013 11:08:10 AM

    Yes, I have an Economics degree, Accounting degree, Diploma of FP, Finsia Diploma & 7 years of CPD & financial planning practical experience. Not enough to make RG146 according to 2 major training organisations consulted by a large licensee I was changing to. Now am having to spend more money & time doing extremely basic level (but time consuming) projects including Financial Planning Essentials & last week had a mock phone interview with a pretend client. I'm sure that was a lot more relevant than 7 years of real client interviews!

  • Stephen on 2/04/2013 10:49:13 AM

    I am a relatively mature aged student doing a commerce/law double degree majoring in financial planning. I can honestly say that my life skills generally have taught me more than the 16 units of my commerce degree. The eight units in the financial planning major obviously would give me the foundation to work for a financial planner to learn the ropes on what to do and I find that a bit disappointing. I would have expected to be able to hit the ground running. The law part strongly suggested that there should be some communications training but that is not achievable in this course due to the lack of electives. I agree that communications is the foundation of any professional dealing with the public (retail clients perhaps). So why don't universities generally not make communications units part of the core?

  • Neil on 2/04/2013 10:14:09 AM

    RG 146 is a mystery. My understanding is that it would not matter whether or not you have a degree and CFP. If your licensee deems you none competent in any area then you need to do muliple RG 146 courses. In this respect you cannot compare a degree and RG146. They are in no way related or comparable.

WP forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

Name (required)
Comment (required)
By submitting, I agree to the Terms & Conditions