Clockwise from top left: Sarah Abood, Peter Burgess, Judith Fox and Zach Castles

Industry associations have welcomed proposed changes to the adviser exam but have used the consultation process to critique the cost of the exam to candidates.

The government launched a consultation at the end of 2023 to change the exam to consist of only multiple choice questions, as well as removing restrictions over who could sit the exam.

After the final deadline for practicing advisers to complete the exam passed in September 2022, only Professional Year advisers in their third quarter have been permitted to sit the exam.

When FASEA was wound up at the end of 2022, ASIC took over administration of the exam and the cost to sit the exam rose from from $597 to $973. Last year, the price was further bumped to $1500.

In its submission to the consultation, the Financial Advice Association said the old exam fee, while not only lower, was also a deductible business expense to most candidates from 2019 to 2022, when practicing adviser candidates were sitting the exam.

“It is assumed that the majority of people sitting the exam now are new entrants who are doing their professional year, and many will not have the ability to claim the cost as a tax deduction as they are not yet practising,” the FAAA submission said, signed by CEO Sarah Abood.

“There are two major problems that have broader consequences. Firstly, the exam is far too expensive for university students and career changers. This is a factor as a disincentive for some to pursue a career in financial advice.”

The SMSF Association has made similar calls, arguing the increases are significant, unsustainable and risk creating a barrier to entry to the industry.

“We anticipate, and look forward to, the proposed exposure draft amendments resulting in a substantial reduction in the exam fee,” the SMSF Association submission said, signed by CEO Peter Burgess.

The Stockbrokers and Investment Adviser Association submission said that PY candidates have already incurred significant costs to undertake mandated education to enter the profession and further “significant costs to sit the exam cannot be justified”.