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Parliament backs degree minimum

The parliamentary joint committee (PJC) on corporations and financial services has added its voice to the chorus supporting a rise in minimum education standards for financial advisers.

In a report handed down on Friday, the PJC outlined its views on “adviser education and professional standards”, having conducted consultations on the subject over recent months.

The report recommended a degree minimum for financial advisers, along with the establishment of a Finance Professionals Education Council to set curricula, mandatory ongoing CPD and the attainment of a “professional year” work experience before being allowed to give advice.

It also put enshrinement back on the agenda, arguing that the terms ‘financial adviser’ and ‘financial planner’ should be set out in the Corporations Act and only registered individuals be allowed to use them professionally.

Controversially, the report also suggests the introduction of a “registration exam” for all applicants looking to be included on the government’s adviser register.

The FPA welcomed most of the report’s findings but expressed concern about this latter recommendation, given its longstanding opposition to a national adviser examination.

“The FPA supports the requirement for a professional year, which is aligned with our current experience requirements,” said FPA chief executive Mark Rantall.

“However, we will be closely reviewing the recommendation of a registration exam to better understand the parameters and implications for existing advisers and ensure there is no duplication.

“The FPA has previously not supported the concept of a national competency exam, because we believe it is unnecessary with the raising of entry standards to a degree qualification.”