Become a financial adviser

Content Summary

A professional standards framework setting the minimum education and experience requirements and ethical obligations for financial advisers was introduced on 1 January 2019.

To become a financial adviser, you must complete:

  • an approved Bachelor degree or higher
  • a professional year of supervised experience
  • an exam set by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA).

Pathways if you hold an approved degree or higher

FASEA was established to set the standards for advisers to comply with the legislative framework. 

FASEA has approved two education pathways for new entrants:

  1. Undergraduate pathway: Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) 7 Bachelor degree
  2. (Career changer) – Postgraduate pathway: AQF 8 Graduate Diploma or Masters (AQF 9) qualification.

FASEA approved degrees and qualifications 

Professional year of experience

The professional year of experience must be equivalent to one year of supervised full-time work (1600 hours) working within an AFS licensee, and must 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 its national exam.

FASEA national exam

FASEA’s exam standard states that the exam will be three and a half hours long, including at least 15 minutes’ reading time.

The exam includes 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 if they have passed or failed the exam, which will be marked to an overall credit level.

Find out more at the FASEA website

Registering as a tax (financial) adviser or agent

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.