The draft higher education and professional standards legislation must be amended to allow more time for existing advisers to become degree-qualified, otherwise there will be "very serious implications", argues the FPA.
In a submission responding to the draft legislation entitled raising professional standards of financial advisers, outgoing FPA chief executive Mark Rantall said the improvement of educational standards could only be achieved under a transition plan that is "actually workable and practical".
"The exposure draft needs to be amended to address the proposed requirement for existing financial planners to have to complete a bachelor degree or equivalent by 1 July 2019," Mr Rantall said in the submission.
"This requirement if not addressed will have very serious implications. It is physically impossible for any individual to be able to complete a bachelor degree within two years (between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2019), let alone do so working full-time," he said.
"The consequence of this measure will be a dramatic reduction in financial planner numbers, which will impact tens-of-thousands of clients being left without their financial planner to service them, hundreds of small businesses closing their doors [and result] in large numbers of support staff out of work."
In the submission, the FPA also said the role of professional bodies in improving professional and educational standards had been overlooked.
"The exposure draft significantly reduces the role of professional bodies. This does not align to the policy objective or the recommendations made by the PJC that had bi-partisan support," Mr Rantall said.
"Therefore, it must be noted that the FPA will be unable to support and advance the new framework, including the establishment of the standards body, in the absence of our proposed changes."
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