The corporate regulator has registered a record number of candidates for the last adviser exam sitting before the extension deadline, but the number confirms there are some who won’t take advantage of the reprieve.
Existing advisers who failed to pass the FASEA exam twice were granted an extension until the end of September to pass the exam.
A spokesperson for ASIC confirmed to Professional Planner that 651 candidates have signed up for the July adviser exam. While this is the most that have sat the adviser exam this year, the FASEA exam averaged around 1,500 per exam.
Research from Wealth Data found almost 1,000 advisers on the FAR had yet to pass the exam and the firm’s director Colin Williams expects most won’t attempt to sit the July deadline.
At the start of the year, ASIC claimed there was 882 eligible for the extension, Association of Financial Advisers chief executive Phil Anderson estimated 150 existing advisers passed the exam in the first two sittings.
“We probably have something like 730 qualified for the extension who are yet to get through,” he says. “If we have 651 and say 500 are existing advisers then that’s a decent proportion that are left.”
Anderson says some of the 882 eligible advisers have likely left the profession during the year.
“Some probably didn’t intend to have another go [at the exam] or didn’t see the point in having another go.”
The pass rate for the exam will be critical, Anderson says, and he hopes as many as possible can pass.
“It would be great if it was higher and hopefully a lot of candidates have gone out there and got one on one coaching support. This is a critical time for all those existing advisers sitting the exam. There’s so much at stake.”
‘Brink of despair’
Joel Ronchi, Principal Consultant of adviser exam preparation firm myIntegrity in Practice, says all the people he is currently helping are eligible for the extension and stress levels are high.
“I’m talking to people who have been in business for decades running successful financial planning businesses and they’re on the brink of despair because one exam could shatter what they’ve built.”
Anecdotally, Ronchi says in the early stages of the FASEA exam there was a positive vibe during his preparation workshops but that changed towards the end of the deadline.
“In 2020 and 2021 people were positive, they had positive outlooks and the vast majority got through. Those two years were fine and then heading towards the end of 2021 into 2022 I’ve had people on the phone to me in tears basically saying, ‘this going to destroy my life’. It’s confronting for people.”