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Advisers stung with late fees over FASEA exam

An industry compliance consultant is urging the government to intervene after it emerged advisers are being charged late fees for failing to inform the corporate regulator of their FASEA exam results in a timely manner.

In a letter to Financial Services Minister Jane Hume published on LinkedIn, Smart Compliance’s Brett Walker revealed he had been made aware of a licensee client charged almost $700 in late fees from ASIC for late reporting of two advisers’ exam results.

“Dear Minister, I work with AFSLs across the country. I am just off the phone with one who is faced with two fee payments totaling $680 because he is late advising ASIC that he and his colleague passed the FASEA exam,” Mr Walker said.

“Across the country there are likely hundreds faced with similar shocks. This comes on top of significant ASIC levy increases and advisers having to pay thousands of dollars to sit the exam in the first place. How much more blood can be drawn from a stone, Minister?”

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Mr Walker told ifa the issue had come to his attention through discussions with the Boutique Financial Planning Principals Association, and he had since been made aware of a number of other advisers in the same situation.

According to information on the ASIC website, the regulator charges a range of fees to licensees to add or update details of their authorised representatives, but the option to add the pass date of advisers’ FASEA exam, along with a number of other FASEA-related details, is listed as free.

In his letter, Mr Walker said the government should move to transfer responsibility for adviser exam data to FASEA, removing the obligation for individual advisers to notify ASIC of their results.

“The exam results are published by FASEA to the adviser. Why can’t FASEA simply transmit that information (e.g. via API) to ASIC so that adviser records are automatically updated without the need for adviser involvement?” he said.

“Why must advisers (i) study for, (ii) sit, (iii) (hopefully) pass then (iv) have to tell ASIC and (v) pay a fee for the privilege? And cop a late fee if they forget to log into the incredibly clunky ASIC Connect system and do FASEA and ASIC’s work for them?”

ASIC was approached for comment on the issue, but failed to respond before deadline.

Advisers stung with late fees over FASEA exam
Advisers stung with late fees over FASEA exam
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