July 27, 2017
Financial advisers need to take an interest in the changes to education and professional standards to prevent creating an model that does not meet the needs of clients, according to AFA General Manager, Member Services, Partnerships, & Campus AFA, Nick Hakes.
Addressing attendees at the Sydney leg of the recent AFA National Practitioner Roadshow, Hakes said advisers had an opportunity to shape the higher education of new entrants to the industry, as well as the ongoing education of all advisers, by participating in current discussions around education and professional standards.
Hakes said research conducted by the AFA in 2013 with consumers and among advisers during the roadshow found that clients most valued the interpersonal relationship skills of advisers and “…it is for your skill and expertise that gets to heart of issues that clients come to see advisers.”
He also said that these skills and expertise were not being taught in the current adviser education system but the advice sector had an opportunity to redress that with the formation of Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA).
“The thing your clients are asking for, we don’t teach, and we tack it on at the end in quasi ways…”
“The disconnect is that we have an education pathway that is not reflective of what happens in your advice. We have an education pathway that is not reflective of the things your clients say they most value from you, and we have an education pathway in universities to teach and skill the next generation of advisers and it is not what they want,” Hakes said.
“The thing your clients are asking for, we don’t teach, and we tack it on at the end in quasi ways, at PD days, and we call it ‘client engagement’,” he added.
Hakes described the development of professional standards legislation and the formation of FASEA as an inflection point where advisers could shape the development of the next generation of advisers and redefine what they will do in practice.
“FASEA have a big challenge of putting all the detail around the five elements and they will come to our industry, to our profession and collaborate and listen to our voice as to what is needed,” Hakes said, describing the five elements as degree entry, a professional year, a registration exam, codes of ethics and ongoing professional development.
“We already have the five elements in some form. The difference will be in operation of these things and it is where the rethinking and redefining will make a difference. If all we do is take what already exists and make it harder, we miss an opportunity to make something that is more reflective of what happens in your practice,” he said.
The AFA is currently undertaking a research project canvassing industry views and practices on what should be included in future education pathways (see: AFA to Re-Examine Education Pathways) and Hakes encouraged attendees at the Roadshow to participate in the research.