FASEA grilled on education double standards

FASEA has come under scrutiny from a parliamentary committee for its treatment of senior advisers in its education standards, with a Coalition senator suggesting the pathways mandated by the authority give newer entrants an unfair advantage.

Senate economic references committee member Amanda Stoker asked the authority a number of questions on notice around recognition of prior experience for advice industry veterans within the education standards, suggesting FASEA had misled the committee around the extent of additional study required for older advisers.

“In your opening statement to the Senate estimates hearing on 27 October, you said 'of those advisers with over 30 years' experience, only 500 (2 per cent of the FAR) will be required to undertake eight units of study by the end of 2025.

“Given that only around 1,300 advisers on the FAR have been advisers for over 30 years, it is actually 38 per cent of this group who need to do the full graduate diploma, and this ignores the more than 7,000 advisers who have left the profession over the last 22 months in the face of FASEA's heavy-handed approach,” Senator Stoker said.

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“Will you correct the record to provide a more accurate, meaningful and contextual statistic?”

In response, the authority said that as there were around 22,000 total advisers on ASIC’s adviser register, the authority considered that its data “presents an accurate representation of the size of this group as a proportion of total advisers”.

Meanwhile, Ms Stoker also grilled FASEA on its graduate diploma requirement for existing advisers, which was the same as that for new entrants changing careers into the industry with no previous advice experience.

“You have previously said that existing advisers get a two-thirds discount on the full degree requirement for new advisers, as FASEA only require them to do an eight-subject graduate diploma,” she said.

“Is it true to say that the graduate diploma is an option available to new entrants to the profession who are career changers, with no financial advice experience?

“If the answer is yes, and the same option is available to people with no financial advice experience, in what way does this approach recognise the relevant experience of long-practising existing advisers?”

FASEA said the graduate diploma pathway was available to career changers who “demonstrate they have an AQF7 or AQF8 level qualification, or a combination of relevant experience and academic capability judged to be equivalent”.

“New entrants would typically not have the minimum relevant experience required and would generally need to complete a FASEA approved AQF7 (bachelor) qualification,” the authority said.

“Conversely, existing advisers are approved for entry to a postgraduate pathway regardless of tertiary qualifications, work experience, equivalent learning or education providers’ postgraduate entry policy for non-relevant providers.”

FASEA said existing advisers could also gain credit for non-degree qualifications such as advanced diplomas and industry certifications.

FASEA grilled on education double standards
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