FASEA adopts education council’s degree framework

Simon Hoyle


October 27, 2017

The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) will expedite its approval of degree-level education requirements for financial planners by initially adopting a framework already developed by the Financial Planning Education Council.

The FPEC was established in 2011 by the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and has developed a curriculum and comprehensive guidelines and requirements for course content at universities and other institutions offering financial planning degrees.

An estimated 19 institutions have already adopted FPEC’s framework in developing their offerings, and have students already enrolled in study. FASEA board member Mark Brimble, professor of finance at Griffith University, is chair of FPEC.

FASEA’s decision, made at its October board meeting, brings welcome certainty for students already enrolled in courses, and for those considering studying financial planning at university, that their qualifications will be recognised upon completion and there will be no education-related delay or impediment to them beginning a career in financial planning.

At the same meeting, the FASEA board resolved that from January 1, 2019, new entrants to financial planning will be required to have completed study at Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level 7– a bachelor’s degree – made up of 24 courses, including 12 core courses, covering ethics, professional attitudes and behaviours, financial planning and the advice process; and technical requirements.

Career changers – defined by FASEA as “people entering the financial advice industry with experience gained from careers in another industry” – will be required to undertake further education at the postgraduate level, but covering the same fields as new entrants.

Education requirements – and the pathways to meeting them – for existing financial planners have yet to be developed by the standards authority, but are due to come into effect in 2024.

The FPA’s head of policy and government relations, Ben Marshan, says FASEA’s announcement “sets the first foundation for the professional standards FASEA is building and is a positive outcome for the profession of financial planning”.

Marshan says the FPA established FPEC in response to a lack of tertiary financial planning degrees, and the association has been advocating that the planned new education standards be based on the work FPEC has already done, and which universities have taken up.

In a statement, the chair of FASEA, Catherine Walter, said the adoption of the FPEC framework would “provide direction for employers, higher education providers and students”.

FASEA chief executive Deen Sanders said the authority is “mindful of the real and practical consequence of our work for the many advisers in industry, and the need to clarify transition issues for those who must meet their obligations by 1 January 2024. Commencing with the new entrant requirement will help inform our work on the pathways for existing advisers.”

Sanders was appointed chief executive of FASEA in August. He is a former chief professionalism officer for the FPA, where he was integral to that association’s development of a code of ethics and professional standards, and immediately before joining FASEA he was chief executive of the Professional Standards Councils.

FASEA’s board includes: financial planning practitioner Deborah Kent, a director and owner of Integra Financial Services and a former president of the Association of Financial Advisers; and Matthew Rowe, managing director of Countplus and a former chair of the FPA.

FASEA was established on July 1 this year, by legislation, to develop and implement new education, professional and ethical standards for all financial planners – both new entrants to the industry and existing participants. It will initially be funded by the big four banks and AMP.

TOPICS:   FASEA,  Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA)

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