No such thing as a ‘relevant’ degree: FPA

Tahn Sharpe


June 13, 2018

The Financial Planning Association (FPA) has proposed that all non-financial planning degrees be grouped together, with no discernment made between ‘related’ degrees such as commerce and economics, and non-related degrees such as nursing and teaching.

The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Association (FASEA) should reduce the number of categories for existing advisers in its education proposal, said Dante De Gori, chief executive of the FPA, at the Professional Planner Licensee Summit in the Blue Mountains last week.

Advisers with unrelated degrees, related degrees, and related degrees (plus related post-graduate qualifications) should be on the same level, De Gori said.

“They [FASEA] have got five different categories that an adviser can fit in, but we think you don’t need five,” said De Gori. “We’ve basically brought it down to three categories; no degree, any degree that’s not financial planning, and a financial planning degree.”

FASEA’s proposed education ‘pathways’, released in March, separates existing advisers into five categories:

  • Existing adviser with no degree
  • Existing adviser with unrelated degree
  • Existing adviser with related degree
  • Existing adviser with related degree and related post-graduate qualification
  • Existing adviser with [FPEC] approved degree

According to De Gori, however, you either have a financial planning degree or you don’t. The FPA’s proposal is that existing advisers should be broken down into three categories.

  • Existing adviser with no degree
  • Existing adviser with any degree
  • Existing adviser with financial planning degree

“We’ll have an argument in this room about what’s a relevant and non-relevant degree, but whether you’ve done a degree in finance, economics or accounting, you did that degree not to become a financial planner,” explained De Gori. “That degree alone didn’t equip you to become a financial planner.”

De Gori further outlined his plan to 700 attendees at the FPA Roadshow event in Sydney today, where he called FASEA’s proposal “unnecessarily complicated”.

The FPA’s ‘Existing adviser with any degree’ category, he warned, could “divide the room”.

“What we’re saying is that any degree that is not financial planning… you will need to either have also done a graduate diploma of financial planning or the education component of the CFP program. We’re also saying there should be recognition of the 8-unit Diploma of Financial Planning (DFP) or Advanced DFP.”

Regarding advisers with no degree, De Gori agreed with FASEA’s proposal that either an approved degree, a graduate diploma, or a masters degree would be required.

The FPA did not agree, however, that existing financial planning degrees should need to be accredited by the Financial Planning Education Council (FPEC), De Gori said.

“Our view here is – why not make it as easy as possible? Rather than having to wait to get a tick, if you’ve done a degree that was specifically on financial planning or majored in financial planning, that should count,” he said. “A financial planning degree is a financial planning degree.”



TOPICS:   Dante De Gori,  Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA),  FPA

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