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Advisers reject mandatory degree calls

Practical work experience and emotional intelligence trump “theoretical” education, a number of advisers have told the parliamentary inquiry into adviser standards.

Boutique advice firm Axiom Wealth has used its submission to the parliamentary joint committee inquiry to argue advisers should be focusing more on developing practical skills to “drive quality outcomes” than on tertiary education.

“We do not support any move to retrospectively mandate tertiary qualifications for financial advisers,” Axiom’s submission said. “Theoretical studies are often a poor substitute for practical experience.”


“The issue with any qualification is that it involves study at only one particular point in time. The legislative and regulatory framework in our industry is changing (all too) frequently and we believe that the key to delivering quality advice is continuing professional development,” it continued.

The submission also pointed out that there is a greater case to be made for the “appropriate education and training of senior management and responsible officers” rather than just advisers, given recent scandals emanating from decisions made by senior management. 

“The key to ensuring that quality advice is consistently delivered (in any sized organisation) is a set of robust systems and processes,” the submission from Axiom said.

“Senior management and responsible officers need to be held personally accountable for the success or otherwise of the overarching checks and balances in a planning business,” it said.

Synchron authorised representative Peter Corrie also penned a submission, arguing that mandated tertiary qualifications for advisers will “jeopardise” the industry’s future growth.

“We already have a huge shortage of advisers, currently around 18,000, which is declining,” Mr Corrie said. “It will decline even further if you have to have degree at entry level.”

“The fact that someone has a degree, hopefully in a related field, does not guarantee trust or best ethical professional practices,” he said.

“Rather it is trust, respect and confidence by clients that is earned by the adviser over a protracted period of time that matters."

Do you need a university degree to provide quality advice? Have your say below