Financial adviser professional standards update

The Commonwealth Government has announced proposed transitional arrangements for existing financial advisers to comply with the new education, training and ethical standards for the financial advice industry. Background.

UPDATE 18 May 2016: As the Corporations Amendment (Professional Standards of Financial Advisers) Bill 2015 was not introduced into parliament before the election was called, these arrangements will not apply until the Bill is passed.

The Government has clarified that the reforms are not intended to require existing advisers to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Existing advisers will be required to reach degree‑equivalent status, which can be achieved via a number of flexible pathways, including by completing bridging courses approved by the new standards body.

The Government is proposing to extend the amount of time that existing advisers will have to reach degree-equivalent status and to pass the new exam requirement for all advisers.

The education and exam requirements are proposed to commence on 1 January 2019 (revised from 1 July 2017). Existing advisers will have until 1 January 2024 (5 years) to reach degree‑equivalent status and until 1 January 2021 (2 years) to pass the exam.

The Government proposes that an independent standard setting body will be responsible for developing and setting the industry exam, developing the code of ethics, and determining the education requirements for both new and existing advisers.

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