ASIC exam still on the cards

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ASIC announced yesterday that they will delay the introduction of their national exam for financial advisers “to allow appropriate time for other reforms to be implemented in the financial advice sector.”

The regulator says it will continue to explore options to start the exam at an appropriate time after FoFA reforms have been bedded down. ASIC released the consultation paper on the proposed exam about two years ago, proposing that:

  1. All new and existing financial advisers who provide Tier 1 financial advice pass a Financial Services Competency Certification exam (Entry Stage)
  2. All new financial advisers following Entry Stage to be supervised by a supervisor (who has at least 5 years’ experience in the industry) for a minimum period of 1 year full time or equivalent
  3. All financial advisers to undertake a Knowledge Update Review every three years on changes to laws, market issues and new products; and
  4. On-going continuing professional development requirements

The exam proposal is part of a push for financial planning to be seen as a profession, by having "consistent national standards" for planners.

Wealth Professional’s poll last week asked you what you thought should be required to become a financial planner and the most popular vote at 43% was for a mandatory degree. A quarter of respondents said RG146 was enough, while 20% said you should need a number of years’ experience. Twelve percent called for something completely new.

Feedback from the sector for ASIC’s exam has been mixed, with associations such as the FPA, FSC and Australia New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) saying the exam will create unintended costs for the clients.

ANZIIF expressed concerns in a submission on the proposal that the exam would make RG146 ineffective. “Although it states that RG146 will be maintained for the moment, CP 153’s proposals seem likely to result in either a complete or partial by-pass of that investment and its outcomes, especially with regard to requiring existing advisers to sit the examination.”

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