The ALP's Stephen Jones (source: facebook)

A Bill extending the date for advisers to pass the mandatory FASEA exam and meet its education mandate reached a significant milestone yesterday, passing through the house of representatives with the reluctant support of Labor MPs.

The proposed legislation will now face the Senate where the Coalition will hope to get it passed through without amendments.

The Bill’s passing came with some stinging commentary from Labor party representatives when the member for Whitlam, Stephen Jones, took aim at the government’s handling of the financial advice industry.

“Labor supports the amendment, but the amendment is necessary only because of the utter shambles this government finds itself in,” Jones said in his speech.

He went on to point out that the “very, very generous transitional arrangements” for advisers were already laid out in 2015, while the original Ripoll committee recommendations the education mandate is based on go back 11 years. He called the delay “incompetence on an Olympic scale”.

“So, yes, we will support the legislation,” Jones continued. “But in doing so, we have to point out incompetence and mistake, incompetence and mistake, minister after minister after minister, which has visited this great uncertainty upon an industry which is already going through considerable upheaval.”

The ALP’s member for Fenner, Andrew Leigh, reinforced Jones’s point and drew a line to the current LIC/LIT stamping fee debate.

“As the member for Whitlam has pointed out, the coalition has been on the go-slow when it comes to implementing the recommendations of the Hayne royal commission,” Leigh stated. “And yet again we see, in the case of these stamping fees, the coalition dragging their heels rather than immediately going out and doing what is the right thing by investors.”

The Financial Planning Association focussed on the positives coming out of the reading, saying they “welcomed” the ALP’s support for the Bill, which will see the transitional timeframe for the approved degree deferred by two years to 2026 and that of the exam by one year to January 2022.

“Bipartisan support for the FASEA extension means financial planners will have more time to balance the new education requirements and regulatory requirements at work while maintaining a healthy home life,” De Gori said in a statement.