Colin Williams

Up to 7,500 advisers could gain a reprieve from the education consult as it currently proposed, but the actual figure will be more complicated according to research from Wealth Data.

There are a lot of variables that come into play that could effect that number, including who passes the July adviser exam and what is the final policy put in place by the financial services minister after consultation closes on 16 September.

The most recent figure on the ASIC Financial Adviser Register (FAR) places the number of advisers in the industry at 16,356.

Wealth Data found there are 8,695 advisers who had 10 or more years’ experience at the start of 2019. Of those, 14.1 per cent completed an approved degree leaving 7,469 that will not have to complete the education requirements.

What complicates that figure is Jones’ actual recommendation is 10 years of service doesn’t need to be consecutive and can be done within a 15-year window between 2004 to 2018.

“We don’t know what the final recommendation is,” Wealth Data director Colin Williams tells Professional Planner. “What the figures tell us though is the overall qualification rate for older advisers aren’t particularly good.”

The research from Wealth Data found 62 per cent advisers have a tertiary degree but 18 per cent have completed an approved qualification.

For advisers that commenced before 2009 this falls to 55 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively.

“For a large number of them [the experience pathway is] going to be very good. Even if you’ve already started going down the track of getting an approved degree you can call it quits now.”

For advisers who were unhappy about starting education that will no longer be compulsory, former financial services minister Jane Hume said they shouldn’t regret pursuing further education.

“For those that have done the education requirements… I don’t think you should ever really feel sore about educating yourself and keeping up to date and becoming more professional, so I would hope no one would see that as a wasted opportunity,” Hume said in January.

Wealth Data predicts the total number of advisers will dip below 16,000 after the 30 September deadline to pass the exam which will impact the total as their research also noted almost 1,000 are yet to pass.

Also complicating that number is the potential infractions on the FAR. Not only do advisers need a clear record, but multiple minor infractions have been recommended to be included as part of the criteria.