While not committing to a formal review, the government is open to changing the structure of continuing professional development (CPD).
Speaking at Conexus Financial’s ‘The Policymakers’ View on Financial Services in 2022’ webcast, the minister for financial services, superannuation and the digital economy, Jane Hume, said the way CPD is structured was worth reviewing.
“Financial advisers do 40 hours of CPD which is quite extraordinary,” Hume said. “Lawyers do 10.”
“Nine of those hours are devoted to ethics – a really important topic, but not something that changes from year to year – whereas of course tax advice, retirement income products do change from year to year.”
The minister said there was now an “opportunity to rebalance”.
“When FASEA ended its time we made sure that some of its responsibilities went to ASIC and some of its responsibilities came back to Treasury so that those can be calibrated in a way that is practical as well as professional,” Hume said.
Under the current requirements 40 hours of CPD is required to be recorded by the adviser with a copy of the records held by the licensee.
However, it has been suggested the broad simplicity of the program made it a bureaucratic exercise that did not necessarily benefit the ongoing education of advisers.
Why not now?
With a raft of policies such as the proposed ‘education pathways’ program already having bipartisan support, Financial Planning Association chair Marisa Broome asked what was preventing legislative passage of other policies that had the support of both parties.
Hume said the government was open to passing bipartisan legislation, but the window of opportunity was limited with the upcoming election and the Quality of Advice review.
“There’s nothing stopping us from putting legislation out there now, except for an election in May which means in fact there is a limited time to do so,” Hume said.
“If there can be regulatory changes that’s certainly something that we have an open mind towards, but getting the Quality of Advice review done, with all of that industry input – it’s timely [and] it’s actually appropriate.”
However, Hume said after the election there was a window of opportunity to pass legislation before the review was completed.
“We would hope that we would see appropriate legislative change to make the advice industry more accessible, affordable and flexible in 2024.”