Neil Macdonald

Experienced advisers should be able to continue to practice until 2035, but the threshold should be 15 years’ experience, according to The Advisers Association CEO Neil Macdonald.

Macdonald leads the re-branded AMP Financial Planning Association that includes the former Hillross and Charter Financial Planning association groups.

Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones proposed the experience pathway at the end of 2021 but it has yet to be officially implemented. Jones’ original proposal included a threshold of 10 years’ of experience with an unblemished disciplinary record.

The TAA position is that an adviser who has passed the adviser exam, has a minimum of 15 years’ experience as of 31 December 2021, and have at least a bachelor’s degree should be included in the education carve out.

Macdonald said there are highly experienced advisers who have passed the FASEA exam but who are not willing or able to commit to the further education required to continue practising.

“Highly experienced advisers should be allowed to continue to practise without having to meet the new education requirements potentially until 2035, subject to certain criteria,” Macdonald said in a media release.

Macdonald told Professional Planner the two main drivers for the 2035 deadline are the expected 1.5 million Australians eligible to retire before that year and that a new adviser starting from scratch would take five years to enter the system (including doing the Professional Year).

Finding talent

Macdonald argued education providers could create training programs better suited to older advisers.

Additionally, the profession could be thinking more laterally in relation to attracting university graduates, he said.

Macdonald pointed to the 2022 ‘Graduate Outcomes Survey’ from Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching which found some people graduating from some undergraduate programs are underemployed in the short term and could be lured into advice.

“Graduates of study areas such as mathematics, computing and information systems, accounting, business management, banking and finance, economics, and law had short-term, full-time employment outcomes of around 80 per cent or less,” he said.

“Some of these study areas are closely related to financial advice. We therefore have a window of opportunity when people first graduate to encourage them to consider other options and doing what may be just a few additional subjects to follow an advice career.”

Macdonald said the profession needs to create an organised recruitment campaign so this opportunity is not lost.