AFA to nominate adviser for education body

The AFA says it will strive to have at least one financial adviser sit on the adviser education standards-setting body, the group charged with deciding the industry's future.

The government's draft legislation covering new adviser education standards states that an industry-established, independent body will be created by 1 July 2016 to develop a transition pathway for existing advisers.

That group will also be responsible for approving a proposed one-off exam and creating new CPD requirements as well as a code of ethics.

Speaking to ifa, AFA chief executive Brad Fox said it is important to have someone in the group who knows the technical and emotional sides of being an adviser.

"We are not yet at the stage where submissions are being called for; however, we are keen to see at least one director with recent experience as a practising financial adviser," he said.

"The interaction between technical knowledge and emotional intelligence skills should be an important concern in determining minimum professional standards as the effective adviser transforms clever theory into successfully implemented solutions with their client.

"The nuances of the adviser/client experience are important skills that we think would be required in the skills matrix for this board to provide effective governance."

Mr Fox told the Genxt Connect Tour event in Sydney last week that the independent body will include seven directors, with the chair to be appointed by Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer. The remaining six will be appointed by a consensus group of associations and relevant bodies, which includes the AFA. 

"Of those six directors, two will come from the consumer space, two will come from the industry space – and we'd like to see one of them as having been an adviser – and one will be an ethicist and one will be an academic," he said.

"It's ultimately that body of seven people that will determine what existing advisers have to measure up to under the new standards."

Mr Fox said the AFA is keeping pressure on the government to amend the draft bill so that it recognises advisers' experience. Further, he would like the wording of the proposed one-off exam to be described as an assessment.

"It wouldn't make a great deal of sense if that was the outcome, that you all had to go back if you didn't have a relevant degree. What we want is an outcome where your experience can be recognised and so can your prior learning," he said.

"We don't want the word 'exam' there. We want the word 'assessment'. I don't know how sitting a three-hour, closed-book exam proves what you're like as an adviser and your knowledge."

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