An advice industry association has called for a boycott of the FASEA exam, which it says is “opaque” and “meaningless” for both advisers and consumers.
In a statement, UFAA chairman Alex Vagliviello said the exam had been cited by members as the most poorly constructed part of the new educational and ethical standards framework, as it did not confer any qualification on an adviser upon passing.
This meant the study done by advisers to pass the exam was of little value or understanding to consumers, and placed additional burdens on advisers who were already struggling to fit in additional education and training requirements, Mr Vagliviello said.
“The FASEA exam is completely opaque, non-transparent in application and meaningless as an academic industry entry requirement,” he said.
“Insultingly, it doesn’t even count towards an adviser’s annual continual professional development requirement despite the amount of time this exercise entails.
“Yet failure to pass the exam will end an adviser’s business, putting an end to their livelihood regardless of years of practice and experience.”
As a result, Mr Vagliviello said the association was calling for a boycott of the exam and “seeking a practical alternative”.
“Regardless of the narrative put forward by the LNP or Labor, FASEA and the industry is confused and in disarray while over-regulated to the point where it is on the verge of collapse,” Mr Vagliviello said.
“Overcome by reform fatigue, advisers are leaving the industry in record numbers with those remaining under severe strain as their businesses cope with a never-ending deluge of administrative and compliance demands.”
The comments come following a new membership push from the association, which formed late last year in response to disillusionment from sections of the advice industry around the implementation of the LIF reforms.
At time of launch, the association said it had over 3,000 members, however with around a dozen associations already representing the interests of different sections of the financial services industry, existing industry bodies have been skeptical of the degree to which the UFAA can influence change.
“We have spoken a number of times in the past with [the UFAA] – we pointed out that there are too many associations and we are diluting our influence/credibility in Canberra [by adding more],” AIOFP executive director Peter Johnston said.
“We suggested they join with us but unfortunately they want to go it alone – offering ‘free membership’ probably best sums it up.”
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