The ASIC era of the financial adviser exam has gone off to an underwhelming start with only 32.4 per cent passing its January sitting.

The exam was previously administered by FASEA until the education authority was scrapped by the government at the end of 2021.

There were 333 advisers sitting the exam with 73 per cent resitting the adviser exam for the second time.

Declining rate

The pass rate of the FASEA exam has been on a downward trend since the inaugural sitting in June 2019 which had 90 per cent of 579 candidates pass.

That dropped down to 79 per cent in April 2020 (the first to include remote proctoring) and 69 per cent in May 2021. The final sitting in 2021, held in November, had a pass rate of 52 per cent.

The December exam had 2,129 candidates sit which meant around 1,020 would have to come off ASIC’s Financial Adviser Register (FAR) if they weren’t eligible for the September exam extension which is available for advisers who failed the exam twice.

Without the extension, the deadline to pass the exam was 31 December, 2021. Over 600 advisers dropped off the FAR by mid-January. The deadline for advisers to come off the register was the end of January which saw another 300 advisers removed.

Research from Adviser Ratings found the move to include the extension wasn’t popular with over 60 per cent surveyed believing failed candidates shouldn’t be allowed to provide advice in 2022.

Overall progress

Over 15,600 of those who have passed are recorded as current financial advisers on the FAR, representing 90 per cent of current advisers.

To date over 19,850 candidates have sat the exam and just under 91 per cent of candidates have passed.

Another 2,260 are ceased advisers on the FAR and may be re-authorised in the future, while 480 are new to the industry.

Over 3,250 unsuccessful candidates have re-sat the exam, with 67 per cent passing at a re-sit.