Minister’s media release on Professional Standards

AFA News 11 August 2022. On Wednesday 10 August 2022, Minister Stephen Jones issued a media release addressing upcoming consultation on the financial adviser professional standards.  In this media release, he addressed what he intends to do with the Education Standard, the Code of Ethics and the exam.

The Minister has confirmed that he intends to push ahead with previously announced plans to streamline the education requirements for financial advisers, including for new entrants.  He has further confirmed that he expects consultation to commence shortly.  We welcome this announcement and remain confident that this will deliver both greater recognition of prior learning and experience and also increased options for new entrants to join the financial advice profession.

Minister Jones has also stated that he has heard from the advice profession about reasons to change the Code of Ethics and that he has asked Treasury to undertake consultation on the Code in 2023 after the Government has had the chance to consider its response to the Quality of Advice Review.  The AFA is one of the groups that have made representation to the Minister on issues with the Code of Ethics, and we welcome this announcement.  We expect that the QAR will provide some insight into the issues with the Code and how changes can make it easier to provide access to affordable financial advice.

The Minister also addressed the Exam in his media release.  He has restated his belief in the importance of the exam in supporting the professionalisation of financial advice.  He has also confirmed that the deadline for passing the exam remains 30 September 2022.  We can take this as a clear message that there will be no further extension and that advisers need to have passed the exam before 30 September 2022 if they want to remain within the profession.  We talk further about the options for impacted advisers in a separate story.

Whilst this is of no direct benefit to existing advisers who are yet to pass the exam, the Minister has announced that he will ask Treasury to explore options to improve the delivery of the exam, such as by reducing the number of questions.  This will no doubt take some time, and thus is not likely to be of any immediate benefit to those existing advisers taking a career break, who have the option to return to the financial advice profession once they have passed the exam.  He has made it clear that the exam will remain an important part of the professional standards regime.

Issued 11.08.2022. AFA Policy & Education Update