An unrelated amendment introduced by the ALP this week looks likely to delay the passage of the FASEA extension legislation through the Senate.
AFA CEO, Phil Kewin, says the Government announced in August 2019 its intention to extend the timeframes set down for FASEA’s education qualifications and adviser exam, and the financial adviser community has been operating on this assumption and reassurances since that time.
He notes that the financial advice community had previously received confirmation that there was bipartisan support for the exam extension legislation, (See: AFA Reports Bipartisan Support for FASEA Extensions) “…which it understood was based upon an acknowledgement of the delay in the availability of the exam, but more recently the impact of the coronavirus and the cancellation of face-to-face exams.”
Kewin has confirmed that while there remains bipartisan support for the extensions, the ALP is seeking to include an unrelated amendment within the legislation package that will most likely prevent it being addressed in the Senate this week.
He says the passing of the exam extension legislation is a simple request from a profession that is essential during this crisis, and where the consequences are both well-known and completely avoidable:
“The AFA reminds the Senate that at this stage, fewer than 30 percent of current advisers have passed the exam, leaving 70 percent who would be forced to cease providing financial advice if they cannot pass the exam by the end of this year. This leaves the hundreds of thousands of clients of these financial advisers exposed, the same clients who are now increasingly reliant upon their adviser for support and guidance.”
“We want our members to be focused on their clients, not only at this critical time, but all the time. The delay in passing this legislation is, however, causing anxiety and having an increasing impact on the mental health of financial advisers.”
Leaving no stone unturned to achieve this extension for advisers, Riskinfo understands the AFA is actively pursuing an alternative solution that can be achieved through powers that currently exist within the brief of corporate regulator, ASIC.
The AFA’s GM Policy and Professionalism, Phil Anderson, argues that ASIC has the power to grant an exemption for advisers under Paragraph 926A of the Corporations Act. Anderson says the best outcome is a legislative solution, however if that was not possible in the short term, then other options are available to achieve the FASEA exam deadline extension.
Riskinfo will report further updates as events in Canberra unfold this week and beyond…