Experienced advisers could be ‘exempt’ from exam: O’Dwyer

Qualified advisers with “many years of experience” could find themselves excused from having to pass the proposed one-off exam, part of the adviser education reforms, says Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer.

Speaking at the FSC Leaders Summit in Melbourne yesterday, Ms O’Dwyer said it is “envisaged” that the standards setting body will have the power to exempt some advisers on a case-by-case basis.

Under the proposed reforms, existing advisers will have from 1 January 2019 to 1 January 2021 to pass the exam.

“However, the exemption from the exam will be reserved for advisers who are exceptionally qualified, and who have many years of experience in addition,” she said.

Further, she said all advisers will be required to undertake continuing professional development from 1 January 2019 and will need to comply with a code of ethics.

Existing advisers who are topping up their education to reach “degree equivalent” status will have until 2024 to do so.

Ms O’Dwyer said she is confident the new framework will improve the “quality and integrity” of financial advice.

“We want a robust framework for improving standards, whilst also minimising the compliance burden for the industry and for individual advisers. Stakeholder feedback from the consultations broadly agrees that these objectives will be satisfied,” she said.

“These reforms will boost consumer confidence and trust. They will professionalise the industry. And, ultimately, they will benefit advisers, their clients and the industry as a whole.”

There are, however, technical details that still need to be settled, Ms O'Dwyer said.

“We will keep working with industry and consumers to make sure we get these reforms right,” she said.

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