FASEA Exam – Pass Rate Steadies


Pass rates and other metrics following the March 2021 series of the FASEA Adviser exam appear to have plateaued.

A release this week from the authority, ahead of its restructure, reports 69% of all candidates passed the March 2021 exam series, compared with a 67% overall pass rate for the January 2021 series.

Other key statistics which point to an evening of results include:

  • 74% of candidates sitting the March 2021 exam for the first time passed (73% in January 2021)
  • 89% of all advisers who have sat the exam have passed (same overall pass rate following completion of the January 2021 series)

According to FASEA, 13,500 advisers, representing 65% of all advisers on ASIC’s Financial Adviser Register have now passed the exam, where other key numbers reported include:

  • 1,182 unsuccessful candidates have re-sat the exam with 65% passing at a re-sit
  • 74% of candidates sitting the exam for the first time passed the March exam (compared with an average of 83% across all exams)
  • 2,234 advisers sat the exam compared with an average of 1,399 across all exams and 1,079 who sat the January 2021 series

This week’s release from the authority notes that passing candidates who give consent will have their names added to the successful candidates list on the FASEA website.

It also stated that candidates who were unsuccessful in this exam will receive additional individual feedback to highlight the curriculum areas where they have under-performed.  The authority notes unsuccessful candidates 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.

Exam question areas where advisers underperformed on the March 2021 exam series include:

Financial Advice Regulatory and Legal Obligations

  • Demonstrating knowledge of the components of key advice documentation that is provided to the client
  • Applying relevant sections of the Corporations Act when identifying responsible provider obligations, including breaches of those obligations
  • Demonstrating an understanding of the Tax Agents Services Act 2009 requirements to scenarios and identifying compliance and non-compliance

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 various client scenarios

Financial Advice Construction

  • Demonstrating an understanding of the context in which financial advice is given and requested and how this impacts decision making.

FASEA notes existing advisers have until the end of this year to pass the exam, for which four further series are scheduled, according to the table below:

Source: Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority website: https://www.fasea.gov.au/register-sitting-the-examination/

The authority advises over 2,100 advisers have registered to sit the upcoming May 2021 exam series.

See also: FASEA Update: Helping Advisers Prepare for the Exam


  1. If these numbers hold then about 1,500 advisers will pass each of the next four sittings. That would mean that about 19,500 will pass altogether. That seems optimistic but the numbers are quite encouraging.

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