Sarah Abood

Having accepted the experience pathway will inevitably commence, the Financial Planning Association is now working on damage limitation to prevent the carve out of education requirements

Then opposition financial services minister Stephen Jones proposed the pathway in late 2021 which is yet to have any clear policy proposition in place after two industry consultations.

FPA chief executive Sarah Abood tells Professional Planner the goal is to limit the pathway and prevent it from being open-ended.

“The biggest concern that members expressed to us was potentially someone who was 30 could have practiced for the next 40 years without upgrading their qualifications,” Abood says.

“For our members, that professionalism is really important – to be able to say to consumers the whole profession meets these standards. That’s our goal. We want to see it limited.”

In the FPA’s recommendation to the most recent consultation which was held last September, the FPA recommended not having an experience pathway. However, if the government was to go ahead with one that it should include a 10-year sunset period that ends in 2032.

“There’s a lot of ways [the pathway] could be limited in such a way that current experienced advisers could take advantage of that pathway,” Abood says.

She adds there is still much ambiguity over how the mechanics of an experience pathway would work.

“What do we mean by a clean record? What happens to someone who after five years on the experience pathway has a case go against them with AFCA,” Abood says. “There’s much to think about with how that would be implemented.”

No holiday resting period

The turn of the year has offered little down time for the association – late last year it latched onto the ATO’s consultation on advice fees and it eagerly awaits the minister’s reaction to the Quality of Advice Review proposals.

“We’re pleased the ATO has been willing to update the tax determination,” Abood says. “We’d be even more pleased if the government would legislate that financial advice by its very nature is tax deductible and we continue to prosecute that argument.”

She appreciates the tax office realised the legislation is “long in the tooth”.

“It was written in a time where advisers were considered to be investment advisers,” Abood says.