The decision to give advisers who have sat and failed the FASEA exam at least twice a further nine months to pass is all about giving them a “clearer run” with less Covid-19 related disruption, according to Jane Hume.
The Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy says the decision to include the extension in the ‘Better Advice’ Bill last fortnight was more about giving everyone a fair go than mitigating the decline in adviser numbers.
“This isn’t about a particular number,” the Minister tells Professional Planner. “It’s about allowing those who have made a concerted effort to take the exam but whose preparation may have been interrupted by ongoing Covid-19 disruptions to have a clearer run at the exam in 2022.”
First announced by Hume via LinkedIn on June 24, the Bill gives the sitting minister the power to extend the cut-off date to pass the exam, which the government has now set at 30 September, 2022.
The extension gives a further chance for advisers who’ve genuinely “had a go” during the pandemic to do so under fairer circumstances, she says.
“This extension is about giving another chance to hardworking advisers who have done the right thing – they have gone out there, had a go, and sat the exam. Covid-19 has been extremely disruptive to many businesses and it is only right for the Government to recognise this and provide appropriate flexibility in response.”
Sensible and charitable
The FASEA adviser exam cut-off date was initially extended by 12 months in June 2020 to help advisers not only managing increased workloads from clients concerned about increased volatility, but trying to study and prepare for an exam that was for many months offered only under remote proctoring conditions.
While most advisers have welcomed the second extension as a sensible and charitable allowance, some on social media have expressed frustration at having worked hard to pass the exam within the prescribed dates only to see them pushed out again.
Hume says she can understand the frustration, but she reiterated the fact that all advisers will need to pass regardless of the timeframe.
“I understand that some advisers who have already passed the exam may be frustrated at this extension. I want to emphasise that all advisers will still have to sit the exam,” she says.
“It is a one-time extension of nine months for a small group of advisers who have gone and done the right thing and had a go, but just haven’t managed to get across the line and pass the exam yet.”
Pass rate idles
The pass rate for the FASEA exam has stalled at 69 per cent according to FASEA, which released the figures for the May sitting earlier this week.
Around 14, 850 advisers have now passed the exam, representing 74 per cent of advisers on ASIC’s Financial Adviser Register.
Despite the declining pass rate, which is partly attributable to the 65 per cent pass rate of second sitters, the overall pass rate of advisers sitting the exam remains at 89 per cent.