Katherine Hunt (left) and Phil Anderson

The corporate regulator has a “specific role they see for themselves” and for adviser exam candidates according to Griffith University financial planning lecturer Katherine Hunt, and it’s important for advisers to consider their perspective when sitting the exam.

ASIC took over administration of the adviser exam after FASEA was scrapped, with the first iteration – which saw a pass rate of 32 per cent – being held in January. Some 333 candidates sat the exam with three out of four being re-sitters.

Speaking on a webinar covering the adviser exam, Hunt said it is important to think like an ASIC auditor which means being “completely detached” and implementing what they believe their role is.

“ASIC have a specific role they see for themselves and we need to think when we’re at a crossroads in any question we should consider: ‘what do ASIC think?’.”

Hunt pointed to phrasing from ASIC’s website that stated its mission is to “promote confident and informed participation by investors and consumers in the financial system”.

“What is ASIC really concerned with? Consumer protection and process,” Hunt said.

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) continues to design and run the adviser exam after being appointed to manage the FASEA exam when it commenced in 2019.

Diminishing return

The first FASEA exam which was held in June 2019 had a pass rate of 90 per cent but has declined since.

For existing advisers, the deadline to pass the exam was 31 December, 2021 which was pushed back a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The extension gave advisers who failed the exam twice before the deadline another nine months to pass the exam.

Association of Financial Advisers chief executive Phil Anderson noted data from ASIC stating 882 people were qualified for the exam extension.

“People in that situation who do have that extension are certainly not alone, there’s another 881 people in the same position and they will be spread right around the country,” Anderson said. “There’s a lot of people in that same situation who are challenged by this and are needing help.”

Data from Adviser Ratings found the extension wasn’t a popular move with 60 per cent of advisers believing those unable to pass before the 31 December, 2021 deadline should not be able to provide advice in 2022.