Adviser Pass Rate Declines


A lower percentage of advisers passed the January 2021 FASEA exam on average, regardless of whether they were sitting the exam for the first time or were re-sitting it.

In releasing the January 2021 FASEA exam results, the authority says that 73 percent of candidates sitting the exam for the first time passed (compared with an average of 83.6 percent across all exams) and 46 percent of advisers re-sitting the exam passed on their second attempt compared to 55 percent of re-sitters across all exams

In total 67 percent of candidates passed the January exam compared with an average of 78 percent across all exams (also see: 11,000+ Advisers Have Passed FASEA Exam).

Other January results FASEA highlighted included:

  • 1,079 advisers sat the exam compared with an average of 1,323 across all exams
  • More than 12,000 advisers have passed the adviser exams held to date, representing 57 percent of advisers on ASIC’s Financial Adviser Register
  • Overall, 89 percent of advisers who have sat the exam (irrespective of how often it was sat) have passed
Stephen Glenfield …more than 13,440 advisers have sat the exam…

FASEA also noted that the exam is marked to a credit standard and the pass rate varies with each exam. It says that the exam was subject to ACER’s comprehensive marking approach and was set at a consistent standard to prior exams.

FASEA Chief Executive Officer Stephen Glenfield says that that more than 13,440 advisers have sat the exam “…with 9 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”.

He adds that in in recognition of their achievement, passing candidates who give consent, will have their names added to the successful candidates list on the FASEA website.

The authority says that candidates who were unsuccessful in this exam “…will receive additional individual feedback to highlight the curriculum areas that they have under-performed.

“They will also receive an invitation to a FASEA-led webinar to help them understand their results and provide guidance on how to prepare for their next sitting.”

Areas for improvement

The authority says that further analysis of the January exam data highlighted areas for improvement, particularly amongst unsuccessful candidates. Exam question areas advisers have under-performed on the January exam are:

Financial Advice Regulatory and Legal Obligations:

  • Demonstrating an understanding of different types of advice (eg. personal advice, general advice and factual information) and how they apply to different client scenarios
  • Demonstrating knowledge of the components of key advice documentation that is provided to the client i.e. FSG/SOA
  • Applying relevant sections of the Corporations Act when identifying responsible provider obligations, including breaches of those obligations

Applied Ethical and Professional Reasoning and Communication:

  • Demonstrating a practical application of due diligence in financial advice
  • Identifying sources of judgement and biases and their influence on financial advice
  • Applying best interest duty and associated ethical obligations when providing financial advice
  • Effectively applying the FASEA code to client various scenarios

Under the Financial Advice Construction category the one area of under-performance highlighted was “…demonstrating an understanding of the context in which financial advice is given and requested and how this impacts decision making”.

The authority says that existing advisers have until the end of 2021 to pass the exam and it’s offering five further sittings in 2021 both online and in physical locations (subject to Covid protocols). Exam booking information can be found here.

It adds that more than 2,300 advisers have booked for the March exam to be held from 25 to 30 March 2021 and that more than 800 advisers have booked for the May exam (20 to 25 May 2021).