Lower Average Pass Rate in FASEA October Exam


A lower average pass rate of 76 percent in the October FASEA exam (compared with an average of 83 percent across all exams) may be attributed to several factors including the exam “attracting a much smaller cohort of advisers in general, combined with a higher than usual proportion of re-sitters”.

FASEA CEO Stephen Glenfield also says, in a statement, that for first time exam sitters during October, the pass rate remained at the 80 percent average.

Some 625 advisers sat the exam compared with an average of 1540 across all exams and  60 percent of advisers re-sitting the exam passed on their second attempt compared to 57 percent across all exams.

FASEA says other result highlights include:

  • More than 10,460 advisers have passed the adviser exams held to date
  • Overall, 89.5 percent of advisers who have sat the exam (irrespective of how often it was sat) have passed, representing 49 percent of advisers on ASIC’s Financial Adviser Register
  • 80.6 percent of candidates sitting the exam for the first time passed the October exam (compared with an average of 85.8 percent across all exams)
  • The exam is marked to a credit standard and the pass rate varies with each exam
  • The exam was subject to ACER’s comprehensive marking approach and was set at a consistent standard to prior exams
Stephen Glenfield …nine in 10 demonstrating they have the skills to apply their knowledge …

Glenfield congratulated the successful candidate and said that more than 11,690 advisers have sat the exam with nine in 10 demonstrating they have the skills to apply their knowledge of advice construction, ethics and legal requirements to the practical scenarios tested in the exam.

Areas of under-performance

The statement says that further analysis of the October exam data has highlighted areas for improvement, particularly among unsuccessful candidates. It sets out exam question areas advisers have under-performed in the October exam (categorised by curriculum areas).

Financial Advice Regulatory and Legal Requirements

  • Assessing whether the adviser has appropriately scoped the advice
  • Assessing whether advice recommendations meet the client’s best interests
  • Demonstrating knowledge of when key advice documentation is provided to the client i.e. FSG/SOA
  • Demonstrating knowledge of the consequences of breaches of financial disclosure obligations for themselves, for clients and for the industry

Applied Ethical and Professional Reasoning and Communication

  • Applying the Code of Ethics to advice scenarios identifying compliance and non-compliance
  • Demonstrating an understanding of an adviser’s ethical obligations when advising on complex family structures

FASEA says that existing advisers have until the end of 2021 to pass the exam. It is offering six sittings in 2021 both online and in physical locations (subject to Covid protocols).

To maximise the number of potential sittings an adviser may have in 2021, the authority is encouraging advisers to register for early sittings next year.

“Advisers who sit either the January or March 2021 exams will have up to three sittings to pass next year.” Exam registration information can be found on the FASEA website.

It says that more than 1000 advisers have registered for the January exam, to be held in metropolitan and regional locations and online from 28 January to 2 February.

To help advisers preparing for the exam, FASEA provides preparation resources, including practice questions, online here.  It says practice questions are regularly updated and that  feedback received from past re-sit participants indicated these resources were useful for their preparation.


  1. percentage is percentage and should not be related to how many sat the Exam. 74% of 100 is the same as 74% of 5000. Its not an easy one to complete effectively. You could be the most incredibly honest person working in the best interests of you client and still not pass.
    There is far to much psychology built into this exam by people who should be be if not already fully fledged psychologist or Psychiatrists. The marking system if they actually have one? seems to also be very convoluted. How can you fail an exam have it reassessed and then pass ? Obviously there is some form of deliberation required by the markers which comes down in the end to a personal opinion of an answer not a standard.
    Hope i get an understanding marker when i do mine !

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