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Advisers Given Limited Time to Comment on FASEA Proposals

Financial advisers have been given just over three weeks to provide feedback on changes to education pathways and the recognition of professional designations after FASEA released a revised set of standards late last week.

AFA Chief Executive, Phil Kewin

The new standards include changes to education pathways for existing advisers as well as the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), including cut-off dates for when professional designations will be recognised as eligible for credits (see: FASEA Releases Updated Education, Exam Guidelines).

The issue of RPL has been flagged as an area of concern by the FPA and AFA in communication to their members, particularly the recognition of professional designations where FASEA announced that only CFP designations gained after 2007 and FChFP gained after 2014 would be eligible for education credits.

AFA Chief Executive, Phil Kewin told his Association’s members that it still lacked details around some of the changed standards and questions remained over the imposition of cut-off dates for professional designations.

“There has been no discussions with the AFA on this date and at this stage we don’t know why they have chosen to exclude all CFP’s who graduated before 2008 or all FChFPs who graduated before 1 January 2015,” Kewin said, adding the AFA would continue to advocate for a better outcome in this area.

Kewin said FASEA had defined a relevant degree as one with eight subjects from a short list of related fields, which was more in line with AFA proposals, and recommended members review their academic transcripts from past training to see if they qualify for RPL.

The FPA told its members the FASEA proposals would be raised at an FPA Board meeting on 21 November, ahead of its 2018 FPA Professionals Congress which begins later that same day, and at which FASEA Chief Executive, Stephen Glenfield will speak on 22 November.

FPA CEO Dante De Gori

FPA Chief Executive, Dante De Gori said the Association would not be commenting in detail on the updated FASEA standards until after the Board meeting.

“What I can say is that one of our major priorities is to ensure that further detail is sought from FASEA regarding the practical operation of the proposed Recognition of Prior Learning and what study/courses will be included in this process,” De Gori said.

While FASEA has released a Standards Summary document covering the updates to the proposals, it has not yet released drafts of all of the legislative instruments that would give effect to the proposals.

At the time of writing, the instruments relating to Education Pathways for new and existing advisers, the Professional Year and the term to be used for an adviser undertaking that year have been released. The consultation period for Education Pathways is due to end on 14 December.

According to the Standards Summary, the instruments covering Continuing Professional Development, the Code of Ethics, Foreign Qualifications and the Adviser Exam are scheduled for release over the next three weeks.

The AFA called on members to consider using the periods to provide feedback, adding, “We understand that FASEA intends to finalise these standards by the end of this year, so we recommend that you carefully check the standards as they are released.”

  • GuyM

    There is no greater conflict of interest in our industry than the Adviser Associations profiting from the promotion and sale of dubious education. I’m an insurance specialist who, in total, sells 5 products and have for nearly 40 years. It’s not rocket science and having a legal, accounting, economics or ‘equivalent’ degree is not going to improve what I do any more than a degree in dentistry, fine arts or astrophysics.
    For the AFA or FPA to do anything but fight on behalf of its member against FASEA’s ‘education for the sake of education’ is ethically wrong.
    These associations are meant to be representing Advisers. Perhaps it is time they started thinking that way & a good start would be to withdraw from involvement with any educational programmes from which you derive (conflicted) income.
    Some facts.
    I am either ethically challenged or I am not. If I am, the powers that be need to be sacked for not finding me out after all this time. If I’m not, leave me alone and let me work. I want my association to fight for its member’s interests on this.
    There will be a Friday in 2023 during which I will be able to have a deep and meaningful conversation with a mum and dad about protecting their family’s financial future but if I call on Monday to discuss their decision I will be fined? jailed? simply because I haven’t ‘invested’ $100,000 + in $s and time on irrelevant study.
    If the powers that be honestly believe there is a date in the future at which I become incompetent and a risk to clients based on the fact I haven’t passed 8 study units, then surely that makes me incompetent now. And if that’s the case, why am I allowed to currently practice? This entire programme benefits no-one except the ‘education’ providers. I want my association to fight for its member’s interests on this.
    The AFA used provide relevant (not for profit) education programmes that actually helped Advisers get better at doing their jobs. We need to be promoting the idea that education should be relevant and I want my association to fight for its member’s interests on this.
    Would the AMA agree to a system whereby doctors couldn’t practice after 2023 if they didn’t get an irrelevant degree in the meantime?
    The Bar Association? Engineers Australia?
    I repeat. I want my association to fight its member’s interests on this. Or make way for those that will.

    • warren B

      Great points Guy, well said. Your point that there must a future date where you (and all of us) are suddenly deemed incompetent, which makes us all incompetent now, shows how out of touch FASEA is. What they are not taking into account is that we are all required to do a certain number of CPE’s each year – doesn’t that along with our experience count for something?

      • Rob

        I am not sure about of the rationale for the FASEA educational standards. If we are better qualified( know more things) we will be better advisers, and our clients will benefit from this. I wonder if you canvassed some of the financial advisers who are rotting in jail at the moment because they did the wrong thing by their clients, about the qualifications they have. I believe they probably would meet the current FASEA educational standards and be more than adequately qualified. They are simply crooks. So why are we being treated like crooks, AFA and FPA?

    • Daryl La’ Brooy

      Guy get in touch with Peter Johnston from the AOIFP because he has joined the Finance Sector Union, wants all advisers to join the FSU ans courtesy of Nathan Rees, former NSW Premier who is head of the FSU now, Peter is taking the fight directly to Bill Shorten who looks like becoming the next Prime Minister. A lot of people hate the CFMEU but they have done a great job for their members. We need a CFMEU right now to fight for us.

      • emkay

        you forget the unions are part of the driving force of destroying IFA’s, after all we are the competition to their “members” funds.

        • Daryl La’ Brooy

          Agree 100% but desperate times need desperate measures and in any case Industry funds also employ advisers.

    • emkay

      the AFA and FPA are nothing but self serving vultures. They have never stood up against the ongoing witch hunt we have been subjected to and they certainly won’t now. Particularly as you say there is a big payday for them with the “education” providers.

  • Phil

    On the radio yesterday the story of high school students stressing out so badly over doing exams that they are being diagnosed with all sorts of medical conditions. Now, imagine a 61 year old AR with 43 years in the industry – 31 as an ‘adviser’ – being forced to sit an exam before 31/12/2020 – akin to the one he failed in 1975 [then called Matriculation]. Some of us are simply not adept at examination type pressure situations – open book or not. Furthermore, as a risk specialist since 1987 the exam is going to [supposedly] be relevant to 10-20% of what I actually advise in. And, obviously by 2024 I will be forced out of the industry [as an AR], thrown on the scrap heap at age 67. My 300+ risk clients will be the biggest losers.

  • Andrew

    The FPA’s own website says that (with respect to the CFP):
    The CFP® designation is fast becoming the first choice for clients and employers – and it’s easy to see why. The highest designation in financial planning, coupled with commitment to the highest ethical standards, sets CFP® professionals apart from the rest.
    So CFP’s are the highest designation and with the highest ethical standards
    But disappointingly I have never seen any published material to the effect that there are actually multiple levels of CFP, some of which must be of a lesser quality (after all it doesn’t qualify for even 2 lousy RPL credits – so I must be of a really sub-standard CFP quality). It seems that, as my designation was achieved pre-2007, my CFP status is second class.
    I also have never seen anything suggesting that the ongoing membership fees; or CPD & education requirement requirements; or ethical rules; or ANY other things – are different for these post-2007 ubermensch CFP’s. Rather, it seems that a CFP is a CFP is a CFP in everything EXCEPT this issue.
    After starting in this profession back in the early 1990’s, I finished the DipFP & CFP early 2000’s, had to do 8 units and from memory DFP8 was the CFP unit (it was nearly 20 years ago). But that apparently has no present value.
    To be clear, I have no problem with completing further education; whether that be a Grad Dip, a Bachelors or even a Masters. Certainly I would have hoped that a person having been in the profession for nearly 26 years – DipFP, CFP; in constant practise all of that time; up to date with all CPD’s etc – would have been granted SOME kind of RPL: but it is what it is.
    Everyone, including the FPA, appear to be of the opinion that the DipFP & CFP are not personal achievements as such (despite the need for maintaining your PERSONAL education), but rather something that is conferred upon you simply (and only) by virtue of paying the fee to the association. So the only benefit I get from paying the fee is to be allowed to pay the fee – I am not a REAL CFP.
    So, if there is no value placed on my pre-2007 CFP status, I may as well not be a CFP.
    Certainly I have no interest in being a CFP if that designation has no value, even by its own authorising body. And if my own professional body does not see merit (other than the fee it receives from me) in my CFP accreditation then why should I see merit in that body? I certainly will not pay a fee to be a second class citizen in my own professional organisation.

  • Jeremy Wright

    We still have the situation where no-one is recognising that the Life Insurance Industry is a stand alone Industry and that Life Insurance advisers are not involved in the Investment Industry, therefore any study associated in that area, is irrelevant and does not fall into any required learning around Investment planning advice.

    This whole FASEA FARCE is nothing more than a money grab which will destroy many hundreds of decent, honest and hard working adviser businesses.

    The time has come for the AFA and FPA to turn the Best Interest Duty back onto the Government and the Regulators, by demanding they stand by their decisions and the BID for all Australians and that they will be held personally responsible for the fallout when, “not if” it occurs.

    It seems fine for Government paid employees to destroy our lives, so let us demand they be held to the same conditions we are subjected to.