A professional standards framework commenced on 1 January 2019, which sets minimum education, experience and ethical obligations for financial advisers.
To become a financial adviser, you must:
- complete an approved Bachelor degree or higher
- a professional year of supervised experience
- an exam set by FASEA.
PATHWAYS IF YOU HOLD AN APPROVED DEGREE OR HIGHER
The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) is the standards body established to set the standards to comply with the legislative framework. It has approved two education pathways for new entrants:
- Undergraduate pathway: Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) 7 Bachelor degree
- (Career Changer) – Postgraduate pathway: AQF 8 Graduate Diploma or a Masters (AQF 9) qualification
FASEA has published a list of approved qualifications for both pathways, noting it is expected further qualifications will be accredited and added to this list.
PROFESSIONAL YEAR OF EXPERIENCE
The professional year must be equivalent to one year of supervised full-time work (1600 hours) working within an AFS licensee, and include 100 hours of structured training. During the year of work and training, you will be known as either a provisional financial adviser or a provisional financial planner.
A professional year plan must also be implemented to develop the following competencies:
- technical competence
- client care and practice
- regulatory compliance
- consumer protection, professionalism and ethics.
Under FASEA’s standard, you cannot begin the third quarter of your professional year until you have successfully completed the FASEA national exam.
FASEA NATIONAL EXAM
FASEA has released the exam standard, which states the exam will be three and a half hours, including at least 15 minutes reading time, and include at least 70 questions comprising:
- at least 64 multiple choice questions
- at least 6 written response requiring short answers or report writing.
The exam will be computer-based and provide access to statutory materials and materials published by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Financial Advice Regulatory and Legal requirements (including Corporations Act chapter 7, AML, Privacy and Tax Agents Services Act (TASA) 2009).
Candidates will be notified only that they have passed or failed the exam, which will be marked to an overall credit level.
TAX (FINANCIAL) ADVICE
A financial adviser who provides tax advice in relation to licensed financial services must also register with the Tax Practitioners Board as a tax (financial) adviser or a registered tax agent.