Stephen Jones

The government will rework the adviser exam as part of its upcoming consultation on the education pathway.

The financial minister’s office previously told Professional Planner it instructed Treasury to commence work on implementing the education pathway and on Wednesday afternoon the minister’s office announced there will be a new consultation.

Financial services minister Stephen Jones said this follows through on the election commitment to review the tertiary education experience.

“I have asked Treasury to develop a consultation paper on options to streamline the education requirements for financial advisers, including for new entrants. I expect consultation to commence shortly,” he said.

Jones made the proposal last year which would give advisers who passed the exam, had 10 years’ experience and a clean record, the ability to stay in the industry.

The former minister Jane Hume followed Jones’ announcement with a consultation at the end of the year, but Jones has elected to conduct a fresh one.

The review garnered polarising results with some saying it would prevent the industry from fully professionalising which Jones and Hume both disputed.

In media statements on Thursday morning, the Financial Planning Association called for a swift decision on professional standards while the Financial Services Council restated its proposal to open to adviser exam to more candidates.

An exam with a different look

Jones said the deadline for existing advisers to pass the exam and continue to provide financial advice will remain 30 September 2022.

“After this deadline I will ask Treasury to explore whether there are areas where delivery of the exam could be improved, such as reducing the number of questions,” he said.

However, he said he remains committed to the exam testing knowledge areas and content.

“I continue to support the exam as a benchmarking tool which tests the practical application of a financial adviser’s knowledge, including on regulatory and legal requirements, and ethical reasoning.”

Cracking the code

Late last year FASEA released a consultation on Standard 3 of the Code of Ethics, which also ultimately led to no outcome when FASEA’s operations officially switched to Treasury and ASIC at the start of 2022.

Jones also acknowledged industry complaints about the code and improvements that could be made.

“I have heard these views and I have asked Treasury to consult on the code in 2023, after the Government has considered its response to the Quality of Advice Review.”

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