An announcement by the standards body tasked with the responsibility for establishing the education, training and ethical standards of financial advisers has provided the profession with much-needed direction according to Deakin Business School’s (DBS) senior lecturer in financial planning Marc Olynyk.
In a statement released last week, the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) provided guidance around new education requirements for existing financial planners. This includes completing an eight-unit postgraduate course in financial planning that incorporates ethics, professional attitudes and behaviours, and technical issues.
‘The education reforms are seen to be an important step in raising the professional standards of advisers and increasing the level of confidence that the community demands of those calling themselves a professional financial advisor,’ says Mr Olynyk.
Until the release of FASEA’s Consultative Paper, there has been significant industry uncertainty around the type of qualification, education pathway or bridging program needed to satisfy the education standards required of existing advisers.
Under the new proposed guidance, financial planners must now satisfy an approved education pathway by 1 January 2024 through the following two main options: completion of an approved qualification contained on the FASEA approved register or completion of an eight-unit Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning.
By completing an eight-unit Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning – currently offered by DBS – existing financial planners will satisfy the new education standards as set out under the proposed guidance says Mr Olynyk.
‘FASEA acknowledges that many advisers already possess a significant amount of knowledge, experience and qualifications from a range of sources and points to the fact that many education providers have the ability to recognise this valuable source of knowledge and skill through “recognition of prior learning (RPL)” opportunities. DBS has tailored its financial planning course offerings to suit the needs of both new advisers and experienced financial advisers,’ he says.
Deakin’s Bachelor of Commerce (with a major in Financial Planning) and Master of Financial Planning are both FASEA-approved courses while the Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning fully satisfies the requirements of FASEA and also provides a direct pathway into the Master of Financial Planning.
Mr Olynyk is also Director of Industry Engagement in DBS’s Department of Accounting and has played a significant role in developing education standards within the financial advice profession and developing B2B partnerships.
He believes that Deakin’s eight-unit Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning represents a sound compromise between FASEA’s need to raise the education standards while acknowledging the existing knowledge and skill of advisors for whom a 24-unit bachelor’s degree is not appropriate.
‘Since guidance from FASEA was released, we have experienced a significant increase in interest in our courses, particularly the Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning, from both individual advisers and licensees. There appears to be greater level of acceptance within the profession that professional standards need to improve and that education standards are an important part of the standards framework,’ he says.