A university’s financial planning course has become the first in the world to receive professional accreditation for estate planning.
The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) recently accredited Deakin’s Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning, according to a statement.
STEP was founded in 1991 and has more than 100 branches and chapters in 56 countries, with a current membership of more than 20,000 worldwide.
Professor of practice in the Deakin Business School’s department of accounting, Adam Steen, said the accreditation will allow qualifying Deakin graduates to become members of an international community of highly-qualified estate planning professionals.
“It also opens up further professional development opportunities over the course of their career,” Professor Steen said.
“Estate planning is a massive industry, and the fastest growing area in financial services, particularly with Australia’s ageing population. The legislation around estate planning is also constantly changing, hence the need for professionals to engage in continuing education.”
Professor Steen said estate planning required skills in law, accounting and financial planning, hence the need for STEP accreditation.
“The accreditation will provide financial advisers an urgently needed education pathway to estate planning expertise, as well as opportunities for continuing support and professional development through the leading international body in the area,” he said.
Head of the STEP education steering group Michael Fox said the group was delighted to be able to accredit a financial planning course in Australia that met STEP requirements.
“The accreditation provides a pathway to STEP membership for those who provide financial advice,” Mr Fox said.
“The evolution of the financial planning industry in the past few decades to move to more specialist areas such as estate planning is a crucial part in its development to becoming a true profession.
“STEP’s main focus is to promote high professional standards, to provide educational and networking opportunities for its members, and to contribute to debate and public policy in its specialist field.”
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