Advisers sitting the Kaplan Adviser Practice Exam (KAPE)

While education providers welcome the government’s extension of the FASEA education deadlines, several have urged advisers to keep the same schedule and use the extra time as a buffer instead of delaying further study.

According to Kaplan CEO, Brian Knight, most advisers will stick to their original timelines after the Assistant Minister for Financial Services, Jane Hume, announced an extra year to pass the FASEA exam and an extra two years to meet the education standard.

For those considering a delay of their study commitments, Knight warns that this could only put off the inevitable and invite further stress.

“The day after the government’s announcements we had licensees and advisers asking… ‘what do we do with this?’ Our advice has been to use this as a buffer, don’t use [January 1, 2026] as the date you’re going to finish because then you just put pressure back on,” Knight says.

The study requirement won’t go away, he explains, so there is no point hitting the pause button.

“You will always have the pressure of your business and your family and your life and everything, but if you push the study aside those pressures are still going to be there when you come back to it,” Knight explains. “As of now, you’ve got time to lessen the size of the education burden up front.”

Michelle Cull, the director of academic program, accounting and financial planning at Western Sydney University, agrees there is no advantage for advisers in kicking the can down the road.

“The extension gives advisers more time to plan ahead and explore the options, but they’re better off getting it done sooner rather than later,” she says.

Cull notes that the extended deadline for advisers to complete the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority’s mandate has eased the pressure on education providers as well.

“Our concern with the shorter time frame was that we’d have this incredible spike at the end, but now people are more likely to plan so it’ll suit us better,” Cull says.

According to Katherine Hunt, a lecturer in the masters of financial planning course at Griffith University, unforeseen delays are another reason to move quickly on the education requirements. “Everything in the education process takes longer than you think,” she says.

Hunt notes the deadline extension makes study commitments easier for advisers to manage, but only if they take charge of the process.

“The extended timeline is a breather so advisers don’t need to feel like it’s out of their control, but they should be still acting quickly,” Hunt says.

A vast improvement

Knight revealed that advisers are performing far better in Kaplan’s adviser practice exam than they were a few months ago.

Speaking to Professional Planner in July, Knight reported a “60 to 70 per cent” pass rate for Kaplan’s practice exam, a figure which he reveals now sits at about 83 per cent.

“It’s a vast improvement. People are preparing more… and the older guys are really putting their hands up,” he says.

Knight says older advisers have been the strong performers so far, despite early concern that they might struggle with the study process. The average age of advisers sitting the practice exam is 43, he says, but 23 per cent are over 50.

“We thought the older ones we’d have to give more attention to,” he says. “but in the first study period that started in July, 99 per cent submitted their first assignment and 94 per cent passed it.”

 

Tahn Sharpe is a Sydney-based financial services journalist with a background in financial planning. He writes on advice, superannuation, investment, banking and insurance issues, is a certified SMSF Adviser and holds an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning.
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