16,000+ Advisers Still to Sit FASEA Exam


To date only 6,408 advisers have passed the FASEA exam, leaving another 16,000 plus “to still complete and stay in the industry”, says Adviser Ratings in its report on adviser movements.

While it is not clear as yet when the Senate will pass legislation extending the FASEA deadlines for exam completion (See: FASEA Extension Delay Likely) a special feature in Adviser Ratings’ Adviser Musical Chairs Report has looked at the FASEA impact.

It says that according to FASEA, 7,488 advisers have sat the exam and 86 percent or 6,408 passed over the last 11 months.

“The last exams were in February 2020 and those scheduled for April were cancelled. Pass rates have dropped consistently since the first exam, possibly because the most motivated and proactive engaged early on,”  the report says.

Adviser Ratings says another 16,000 plus advisers still must sit the exam, and allowing for an average 15 percent failure rate on their first attempt, 2,400 advisers will require two attempts to pass.

“The four previous sittings have averaged 1,500 advisers each. Assuming the extension legislation is passed, there are likely to be another eight to 10 exam sittings by end 2021.

“Even then, that would represent 1,800-2,000 advisers for each exam, representing a 20-30 percent increase per sitting.”

The report also notes that at least the next exam sitting in June will be held remotely.

“Conducting exams remotely eliminates the inconvenience of travel and, arguably, should allow for substantially higher participation rates.

“But right now, with the … passage of the legislation gifting advisers another 12 months of breathing space, compounded by the intensity of supporting clients through the pandemic, we are probably going to see a drop-off in participation rates for a while.”

Lack of Feedback

The report also says that anecdotally, advisers are frustrated by the lack of feedback from FASEA on their performance where they have not passed.

“Guidance is reportedly generic and does not help advisers know where to focus their re-learning efforts,” it says.

“The apparent ease of completing the exam on-line may also not be as straightforward as it first seems. There are specific conditions that advisers must meet to ensure they are appropriately ‘supervised’, including downloading proctor software and installing mirrors to show the proctor what is around the adviser’s computer.

“And for some, the vagaries of internet connectivity mean that technical disruptions of more than 30 minutes require the session to be rescheduled,” the report says.


  1. Three decades ago, a sage bit of advice I received, was never volunteer or jump in early when any new product, service or Regulatory improvement is promoted.

    The reason then and it still applies today, is that there are always bugs and always improvements needed, as nothing is perfect when first introduced.

    In 33 years, this bit of advice has stood the test of time.

    Early volunteers are guinea pigs and always suffer inconvenience, frustration, time and revenue losses trying to wade their way through ill thought out processes.

    No-one and no system is perfect, which means many hours, days and weeks helping the purveyor fix issues with no compensation, except maybe a small reduction in a fee that does not cover a fraction of the time and cost trying to work out what to do.

    It is admirable that people volunteer, though I find I prefer my sanity and temper to stay on an even keel, which means waiting till the bugs have been ironed out and stupid requirements removed.

    • All good when there is no deadline. Sat the exam in the second round held, passed and no have no worries. Free to focus on my business and my clients without the worry that those idiots in parliament will grant an extension or not. I wonder how your sanity and temper will fare when Labor continue to stymie the passing of the extension Bill…

  2. I would find it absolutely outrageous and completely ridiculous to see labour “stimi “ the passing of the legislation to extend the FASEA exams But? Never say never
    I think there may be more than one issue relating to why 16000 advisers have not completed the exam yet and it’s mainly lack of knowledge about the future of financial advice
    Yes the pandemic is a good one but knowing if ASIC is going to recommend 30% flat or NO COMMISSION structure at all is another one to be decided at the end of this year and nobody can truly say they know what will happen
    To be honest no one really knows what to expect to be quizzed on in the exam either despite attending costly pre exam meetings to discuss just such issues
    Does anyone provide a practice exam ? I would really appreciate a look at one
    And unfortunately there is one other that only those 16000 advisers can answer and is it just that they are leaving it to the last minute as they still do not know if they will stay ( regardless of my previous points ) or only intend to do it to get an extension of time to set up a gracious exit in 2026
    I would think the answer lies in how many enrolments have the Universities and others providing the course received to date ?
    I have not heard of thousands signing up and you would think those here to stay would have started their transitions by now
    I think there are still a few shocks to come in this from both sides before it’s over.
    I think I might go quietly into the night come 2026 might I suggest with plenty of others??

    • Good words Ken. I reckon you’re spot on with all your points. I will probably leave in 2022 at the last available moment as another 4 years to 2026 would truly do my head in. This idiot ethics exam is bad enough but I’d stand no chance finding time or mental aptitude to do the degrees. It seems they are necessary even after 34 years of exemplary service to clients, not a single complaint (all to the contrary). Yep, to continue toi help clients with IP, trauma and term cover it seems I must be a fully qualified financial planner and get this degree to prove I can talk about derivatives, CFDs, international currency exchange and all manner of other unrelated nonsense to my job. This is how they want to rid our industry of the backbone of client support. Just reprehensible. Some politician – who is wholly UNqualified for HIS job, wants me ‘skill-up’. Sickening. I’ll be leaving at least 7 years before I had planned but if I stay I’ll go crazy – no joke there. It is not the industry I signed up for. It was once run by real men, adults. Now every half baked politician and ‘caretaker’ CEO seems to think they can attempt reshaping it in their own image, until the quarterly results come out and it changes again.. I’ll be struggling, sanity-wise, to make it to Jan 2022. Forget 2026. Best to you mate, on this fractured journey.

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