Over 60 per cent of advisers think candidates who have failed the FASEA exam twice should not be allowed to provide advice in 2022, according to research from AR Data.

The firm’s ‘Musical Chairs’ report for Q4 noted that legislators recognised “the market is in freefall” leading to the introduction of measures to dissuade people from leaving the profession.

While the report states “almost two thirds” of advisers oppose the reprieve, no specific data or methodology relating to the figure is provided.

“Towards the end of last year, advisers who had twice failed the advice exam were given a nine-month extension to October 2022,” the report explains.

ASIC took over management of the exam at the start of the year, after it was announced in late 2020 FASEA will be scrapped.

Hume announced the September extension last July, which allowed advisers who failed the FASEA exam twice before 1 January, 2022, to have until 1 October to pass the exam.

However, the minister told Professional Planner at the time the extension was announced the move wasn’t about adviser retention.

“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,” Hume said.

The report noted the number of advisers at the end of the year was 17,351, with that number declining further to 17,282 at the start of February.

Majority support experience

In contrast to the purported lack of support for advisers who didn’t pass the exam, the same survey expressed a slim majority of support for better recognition of experience.

“At the very end of last year, Treasury asked for feedback on whether the standards do enough to recognise on-the-job training or if experienced advisers should be able to circumvent the degree requirement, provided they complete an ethics course,” the report said.

“A slight majority of Adviser Ratings readers (56 per cent) thinks experience should be incorporated into any revised standards.”

The experience pathway polarised advisers, with the Financial Planning Association being open about the fact it shifted its view on the issue after receiving feedback from members, who were largely against the proposal.