Synchron calls for ‘special’ risk education standards

Since risk advisers are not general practitioners, they should adhere to a special education stream separate from the government's proposed professional standards, Synchron has said.

In response to the draft bill unveiled earlier this month, Synchron director Don Trapnell said that because risk advisers are specialists, they need a unique education stream tailored specifically to life insurance and which recognises existing knowledge and experience.

"Financial advisers should be able to elect to study a specialist stream, just as students of any discipline can choose to specialise in a particular area," Mr Trapnell said.

"In the case of risk specialists, this would of course mean specialising in life insurance."

Mr Trapnell added that existing advisers with experience over the long-term should be provided with an appropriate education pathway which recognises that experience as well as their knowledge of life insurance and their "unique set of client relationship skills".

"The average age of Synchron advisers is 43. These people understand what they need to do in order to meet changing education requirements," he said.

"But we need to also ensure that older, highly-experienced advisers are provided with an appropriate professional pathway that recognises their extensive knowledge, experience and expertise so they can continue to provide the intricate insurance advice and deep emotional support their clients need."

The government's draft states that an independent, industry-established body – set to begin operating on 1 July 2016 – will develop the new standards and the transition pathway for current advisers.

Provisions of those details will come into effect by July 2017, and existing advisers will have until July 2019 to complete any further study, pass a one-off exam and subscribe to a new code of ethics.

The draft bill is open for public consultation until 4 January 2016.

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