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Exempt limited advisers from degree requirement: Mentor Education

SMSF, risk and other advisers who offer limited services should be exempt from the proposed requirement to obtain a "fully-fledged" degree, says Mentor Education.

In a statement, the financial services training company said the government's proposed adviser education standards should only apply to comprehensive financial advisers.

"Any legislation on qualifications should be focussed on advisers who provide comprehensive personal advice and not overreach to the majority of advisers who provide only limited personal advice," said Mentor Education managing director, Mark Sinclair.

"Accountants, life insurance and other advisers seeking to provide personal advice in SMSFs, and who limit their advice to retail clients, should be exempt from the requirement to do a fully-fledged degree as this would entail studying subjects that are not relevant to that adviser.

"For example, accountants should not be required to study estate planning, aged care or succession planning if they are seeking only to provide SMSF advice," he said.

Mr Sinclair does recommend, however, that those limited advisers study a part of a Bachelor of Financial Planning degree, including a mandatory course on ethics.

"That way, across Australia, consumers can be assured of a standardised and appropriate bare minimum qualification level for limited financial advisers," he said.


"On the other hand, those advisers who want to provide full financial plans and holistic advice should be required by law to do a standalone, 24-subject Bachelor of Financial Planning degree."

Mr Sinclair also argued against comprehensive advisers opting for a 12-subject Master of Financial Planning degree or hybrid degrees.

"Depending on existing qualifications and experience, existing financial planners are likely to qualify for credits/exemptions for a great deal of the subjects required by the new legislation," he said.

"In the case of a current comprehensive personal financial adviser, probably half of the 24 subjects in a degree would already have been completed, with relevant industry experience also being awarded with credits."