Your Frequently Asked Questions Answered

Education Standard

New Entrant

Professional Year

Exam

Existing Advisers

Continuing Professional Development

Code of Ethics

Foreign Qualification

Consumer

Education Standard

New Entrant

Professional Year

Exam

Existing Advisers

Continuing Professional Development

Code of Ethics

Foreign Qualification

Consumer

Education Standard

What is an Approved Degree?

An approved degree is a bachelor or higher degree approved by FASEA under relevant provisions of the Corporations Act and is listed in the Corporations (Relevant Providers Degrees, Qualifications and Courses Standard) Determination.

Upon completion of the Ethics for Professional Advisers bridging course, Advisers who hold an approved degree will have met the first of the required education and training standards under S.921B of the Corporations Act .

Where can I find FASEA’s Approved Degree List?

FASEA’s approved list of bachelor and higher degrees and equivalent qualifications are listed in the Degree, Qualifications and Courses Legislative Instrument (LI) on the Federal Register of Legislation. For easy access by Higher Education Provider, please refer to FASEA’s Approved Provider and Course List page.

What is a Relevant Degree?

A relevant degree is a degree or qualification in a relevant field of study that includes at least 8 courses in one or more of the following (may be across multiple degrees or qualifications):

  • Financial Planning (includes financial advice areas of: superannuation, retirement, insurance and estate planning)
  • Investments (includes all types of investments eg. shares, derivatives, foreign exchange, options etc.)
  • Accounting
  • Taxation/tax law (as approved by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB))
  • Finance Law
  • Finance Business Law (as approved by the TPB)
  • Estate Law
  • Banking
  • Economics

Note that the Degree, Qualifications and Courses Legislative Instrument (LI) does not list relevant degrees. The Licensee is responsible for determining whether their authorised representatives have a relevant degree.

Is my Professional designation recognised?

FASEA approved education undertaken as part of achieving a professional designation may count for recognition of prior learning (RPL). Entities that offer Professional Designations can apply to FASEA to have their coursework assessed for recognition towards the FASEA Existing Adviser education pathways. The coursework to attain a professional designation may be awarded up to 2 credits. The FASEA Approved RPL List and the Degrees, Qualifications and Courses Legislative Instruments include those that have been approved by FASEA.

I want to start my study, what courses are available?

The Degree, Qualifications and Courses Legislative Instrument, lists courses for both new entrants and existing advisers that meet Approved Education Pathways.

FASEA anticipates that additional degrees and courses options to those already on the Approved list, will progressively become available as Higher Education Providers design the courses and receive approval from FASEA.

When will the Graduate Diploma’s and Bridging Course be approved by FASEA?

The first round application process for the Graduate Diploma and Bridging Courses closed on the 12 April 2019. FASEA received applications from 16 Higher Education Providers and is undergoing the assessment of these. FASEA expects that the outcome of this process will be communicated late May 2019. FASEA will announce the outcomes on the website and subsequently update the Legislative Instrument.

What prior learning does FASEA recognise?

Existing advisers who have completed qualifications above the Diploma of Financial Advice/Planning (AQF5) during their years of practice may be eligible for some recognition of prior learning (RPL).Existing advisers may be eligible for exemptions via RPL for certain FASEA approved qualifications.

Once FASEA approves specific courses for RPL, (on application from providers of those courses)it is updated in the Degrees, Qualifications and Courses Legislative Instrument,, RPL is currently approved for:

  1. Completion of the Advanced Diploma of Financial Advice/Planning (AQF6) – 2 credits
  2. Approved coursework to attain a Designation – up to 2 credits
  3. Between 4 and 7 courses that meet the relevant degree definition – 2 credits

Higher Education Providers may award credit for FASEA’s Financial Regulatory and Legal requirements and Behavioural Finance bridging courses only after FASEA has approved the alternative course as equivalent (on application from the provider of those courses. As the Code of Ethics is new content, FASEA will not allow RPL for its Ethics for Professionals bridging courses.

For new entrants, RPL is a matter of individual policy for the Higher Education provider. TEQSA reviews the RPL that a provider offers, which usually does not exceed 50% of course credits.

FASEA reserves the right to not be bound by RPL awarded outside of TEQSA guidelines.  

New Entrant

Who is a New Entrant?

Advisers joining the profession after 1 January 2019.

What do I need to do as a New Entrant to meet the standards?

New Entrants are be required to complete an approved qualification, pass an exam and undertake a year of work and training (professional year). In conjunction with their Supervisor and Licensee, they will need to disclose to the client that they are a Provisional Financial Adviser/Planner during the time of their work and training year, as well as name their Supervisor who is accountable for the advice they give during their professional year.

I am a new entrant to the financial advice industry. What educational qualifications do I need?

New entrants to the financial advice industry must complete an AQF7 (Bachelor’s) degree or higher qualification approved by FASEA. For career changers, a Graduate Diploma (AQF8) or Masters (AQF9) may be applicable, subject to the Higher Education Providers entry requirements.

I have attained some or all of my educational qualifications overseas. Will these be able to count towards my educational requirements?

One of FASEA’s legislative tasks is to approve foreign qualifications. FASEA is providing the Foreign Qualification Assessment Service to assist those that have a foreign qualification and want it approved by FASEA. Please refer to the Foreign Qualification Standard.

Professional Year Standard

Do I have to complete a FASEA approved degree before I can start the Professional Year?

Yes, a new entrant must have completed an FASEA approved degree before they can start the Professional Year. If the degree doesn’t include the Ethics for Professional Advisers bridging course, this can be completed during the Professional Year.

Can I commence my Professional Year while I’m completing the Degree in my last year?

No, You must complete a FASEA approved degree before you can commence the Professional Year.

Does work integrated learning count towards my Professional Year?

No, the Professional Year starts after completion of a FASEA Approved Degree.

I am a career changer and have extensive work experience, do I have to do the Professional Year?

Yes, all new entrants are required to complete a Professional Year as defined in the Corporations Act 2001. You may be able to accelerate Quarter 1 and 2 if your Supervisor and Licensee agree that you meet the competency requirements for these. You must however pass the exam before commencing Quarter 3. Refer to the Professional Year Policy.

I have worked in the advice area as a paraplanner for many years. Do I need to complete the Professional Year?

Yes, all new entrants are required to complete a Professional Year. You may be able to accelerate Quarter 1 and 2 if your Supervisor and Licensee agree that you meet the competency requirements for those Quarters. You must however pass the exam before commencing Quarter 3.

Exam Standard

When can I register for the exam and when will the timetable be published?

Exam registration will open approximately 12-14 weeks before each sitting. The schedule is available on the Register for the Exam page, link.

What is the cost of the exam?

The exam will cost $540 + GST for each sitting.

What is the cost to re-sit the exam?

The exam will cost $540 + GST for each sitting.

How long is the exam?

The exam is 3.5 hours which includes 15 minutes of reading time.

Is the exam online?

The exam will be completed online using dedicated computers in specific exam locations. From 2020 the exam will be available online using remote digital proctoring technology for those that meet the requirements for this.

How many times can I sit the exam, if I fail?

You may sit the exam multiple times, however an existing adviser must pass the exam by 1 January 2021.

Is the exam open book?

The exam is open book for statutory material. Electronic copies of materials will be accessible during the exam.  Access to hard copies of materials will not be permitted during the exam.  Examples of statutory material includes relevant sections from the Corporations Act and FASEA standards.  The Exam candidate video provides more information, link.

Is the FASEA Exam a 'once only' for Existing Advisers?

Yes, the exam is a one-off exam that all advisers must pass.  There is no requirement to pass the exam annually.

What is the date by which I need to pass the exam?

Existing advisers must pass the exam by 1 January 2021. New entrants must pass the exam before commencing Quarter 3 (indirect Supervision) of their Professional Year.

What are the consequences for an Existing Adviser who hasn’t passed the exam by 1 January 2021?

For an existing adviser who has not passed the exam by 1 January 2021, their Licensee will be required to remove their authorisation to provide advice and notify ASIC that they have not met the examination requirements of the Corporations Act. Their status on ASIC’s Financial Adviser Register will be updated to reflect that they are no longer authorised and therefore “ceased”.

If they want to return to practice, they would be classified as a new entrant and would need to meet the new entrant requirements.

When I resit the exam, can I complete only the parts that I failed?

No, if you fail the exam you will need to resit the whole exam.

What is the pass mark for the exam?

The ‘Pass Mark’ for each exam is set by an expert review panel using formalised and internationally accepted standard setting procedures.  The starting point for standard setting is aligned to the range of a typical university credit grade, i.e. 65%-74%. To ensure equity and fairness for all candidates, the ‘Pass Mark’ will be reviewed for each exam cycle and may be adjusted to account for differences in exam difficulty and to maintain standards.  

When will I receive my results?

Your results will be available between 6 and 8 weeks after sitting the exam.  Once notified, you will be able to access the results using your online Exam account which you created when you registered to sit the exam.

Why can’t FASEA tell me what mark I need to achieve to pass the exam?

International research-based methods for the analysis and standard-setting process have been used to determine the ‘pass mark’ for the Financial Adviser Exam (FA Exam). This approach is quite different from how universities and/or higher education providers might determine a ‘pass mark’, for example, by providing a percentage correct, or using a bell-curve distribution.

The reason a more complex approach is taken is that different candidates sit different exam papers over many cycles of the FA Exam. To fairly compare candidates’ scores across all the exams, the results need to be put on a common (standardised) scale, created using formalised and internationally accepted standard-setting procedures.

The standard used to align the common scale is set against a typical university credit grade, but to ensure fairness and equity for all candidates, the ‘pass mark’ will be reviewed during each exam cycle to account for the difficulty of each exam form.

What is a standardised scale?

Scaled scoring is best practice for reporting high stakes exam scores in professions such as accountancy, law and medicine.

Data collected from candidate responses to all the questions are used to establish a standardised scale on which both the difficulty of each question and the achievement of each candidate can be measured.

The scaled score for a given candidate takes into account the difficulty of the version of the exam the candidate has completed. This means that scaled scores of candidates can be directly compared, regardless of which version of the exam the candidates have completed.

How can my results be compared with other candidates if we are sitting different exams?

Because there are multiple exam versions, it is necessary to establish a way of comparing candidates’ performance to ensure fairness for all candidates, regardless of which exam or cycle a candidate sits. A robust standardised scale has been developed to ensure results are comparable across exam cycles, and a ‘pass mark’ for each cycle will be set using formalised and internationally accepted standard-setting procedures and methods.

The starting point for standard setting is aligned to the range of a typical university credit grade. To ensure equity and fairness for all candidates, the ‘pass mark’ will be reviewed for each exam cycle to account for differences in exam difficulty and to maintain standards.

Why is a second attempt at the same questions a problem?

A candidate re-sitting the same questions may have an advantage over other candidates, because they could potentially remember the questions they saw and work out the answers before the next sitting. This would be both unfair on other candidates seeing the questions for the first time and make it difficult to rigorously assess the re-sitting candidate’s knowledge of their field.

It may also compromise the security of the exam, as people remembering the questions could reconstruct the exam form after sitting it and reveal them publicly. Therefore, all questions in each version of the exam that an individual candidate sees will be unique, so a candidate re-sitting will see a different set of questions from their first attempt.

Why does it take so long to receive results?

The research-based approach used for the FA Exam to determine results takes time. Although the Multiple-Choice questions are quickly scored, the analysis can only be undertaken when the written responses have been double-marked and adjudicated. In order to fairly compare candidates from one exam cycle to another, the raw scores are converted to a standardised scale score and then the standard-setting process is undertaken.

This approach may be quite different to practices used by some tertiary institutions where a determined raw score constitutes a pass or fail. It may also be the practice in some institutions to determine a percentage of students who pass according to distribution under a bell curve, which is not the case for this exam.

The approach taken for the FA Exam is an internationally recognised measurement methodology and allows for fair comparison between cohorts over time. The analysis steps ensure rigour and therefore take time but are necessary to ensure accurate and fair results are provided to every candidate.  It will take 6-8 weeks complete the process and release the results.

Existing Advisers

I have completed educational qualifications below AQF7 (Bachelor’s degree) level. Do I need to do further study to meet my educational requirements?

Yes, existing advisers with qualifications below AQF7 will need to complete an eight subject graduate diploma less any credits they may receive for completing any FASEA approved courses.

I have completed a degree overseas many years ago. Can I use this towards meeting my educational requirements?

You will need to have your qualification assessed by FASEA. FASEA is providing the Foreign Qualification Assessment Service to assist those that have a foreign qualification and want it approved by FASEA.

I am an existing Adviser and have completed a degree that is on the FASEA approved list. Do I need to do further study?

Existing advisers who have completed a FASEA-approved degree will need to complete the Ethics for Professional Advisers bridging course to be compliant with the new standards unless otherwise specified in the Degrees, Qualifications and Courses Legislative Instrument.

I am an existing Adviser and have completed a relevant degree that is not on the FASEA approved list. Will this count towards my educational requirements?

A relevant degree is a degree or qualification in a relevant field of study that includes at least 8 courses in one or more of the following (may be across multiple degrees or qualifications):

  • Financial Planning (includes financial advice areas of: superannuation, retirement, insurance and estate planning)
  • Investments (includes all types of investments eg. shares, derivatives, foreign exchange, options etc.)
  • Accounting
  • Taxation/tax law (as approved by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB))
  • Finance Law
  • Finance Business Law (as approved by the TPB)
  • Estate Law
  • Banking
  • Economics

Note that the Degree, Qualifications and Courses Legislative Instrument (LI) does not list relevant degrees. The Licensee is responsible for determining whether their authorised representatives have a relevant degree.

I have completed an unrelated degree that is not on the FASEA approved list and additional related post-graduate qualifications. Do I need to do further study?

Yes, existing advisers who have completed an unrelated degree and a post-graduate qualification in a related field will need to complete the requirement for a related degree pathway.

What educational providers currently offer FASEA-approved qualifications?

For the full list of approved higher education providers, please refer to the Approved List page or refer to the Approved Program List.

I have completed an industry designation (e.g. CFP, FChFP, CPA etc). Do these count towards my educational requirements?

Designations are not qualifications and therefore don’t meet the education requirements., The education undertaken to achieve a professional designation may be approved by FASEA (on application from the designation provider) for credit towards the existing adviser education pathways. 

Is FASEA able to give me a determination around my individual circumstances and how these fit into the proposed guidelines?

FASEA has built an online education pathways tool to help you assess your individual circumstances. If you require additional feedback, you may apply using FASEA’s Degree feedback service including your qualifications.

I am a responsible manager in an advice business. Will I have to meet the same educational requirements as advisers under the new standards?

ASIC are responsible for setting the requirements for Responsible Managers. Please refer to ASIC’S guidance on RG105 for further information. Note that ASIC have proposed some changes to RG105 which has undergone a consultation period.

Continuing Professional Development Standard

Are there templates and guidelines available to assist me in meeting my CPD requirements?

CPD Log Book template is available on the CPD Standard page.

Does the CPD Plan need to be published on the ASIC FAR?

No, the CPD Plan is not required to be published on the ASIC FAR.

Does the Licensee’s CPD Policy need to be published on a website?

The CPD Policy is to be stored in a central location that is easily accessible by the Licensees financial advisers. The central location may be a website, an intranet or share folder. The Licensee may choose to publish the policy on a public website.

Is it possible to reduce the minimum number of CPD hours in any CPD year for those who have taken significant time off from work during those years i.e. maternity leave/leave of absence for medical reasons?

The Licensee must define in its policy any pro rata arrangements for special circumstances.

Is it possible to use my CPD to meet the education standard?

Yes. Standalone formal education that is at AQF 7 or above may be eligible to meet recognition of prior learning requirements. Coursework completed that has been approved for recognition of prior learning is eligible for the education pathways. All other CPD is not eligible to meet the education standard.

Can I carry over CPD activity that I completed in 2018 ahead of my Licensees requirement?

No, only CPD activities completed from 1 January 2019 are eligible to be counted for the new CPD requirements.

Will FASEA approve qualifying CPD activities?

No, FASEA will not be approving CPD activities or Providers. Licensees are responsible for approving at least 70% of their advisers CPD activities.

I’m a CPD Provider, how do I get my CPD Program approved?

Licensee’s are responsible for approving CPD activities for their advisers.

How do we determine which CPD Area to allocate formal education?

Depending on the knowledge area of the formal education you will allocate a maximum of 30 hours. You can apply across multiple CPD areas, as long as there is no double counting.

Code of Ethics Standard

When do the obligations for the Code of Ethics for Financial Advisers/Planners commence?

Financial Advisers will need to comply with the Code of Ethics from 1 January 2020.

Does a new entrant need to comply with the Code?

The Code applies to relevant providers, therefore when a new entrant passes the exam, and is authorised by their Licensee as a Provisional Financial Adviser they are required to comply with the Code of Ethics.

Will FASEA provide additional guidance on the Code of Ethics?

Yes, FASEA will release a Code of Ethics guidance document for public consultation. Once the feedback is reviewed then FASEA Guidance document will be finalised.

Foreign Qualification

How do I find a DET Approved Body?

DET Approved Bodies and the process for having your foreign qualification assessed can be found on the website. 

I’ve had my foreign qualification assessed by NOOSR is this enough?

Yes. Assessments by NOOSR will be accepted given NOOSR prior to DET was the overseas qualification assessment unit.

I’ve had my foreign qualification assessed by DET do I still need to apply to FASEA?

Yes, FASEA must approve your foreign qualification and determine any additional courses that you will be required to undertake to meet the education standard.

Consumer

What qualifications will my financial adviser have after 1 January 2019?

After 1 January 2019, all new financial advisers will be required to complete an approved qualification, pass an exam and undertake a year of work and training to gain practical work experience and training under the supervision of a more senior adviser.

Financial Advisers who are already practising as at 1 January 2019 will need to by January 2024, have or obtain approved qualifications that are equivalent to those required by new advisers, as specified by FASEA.

What is my adviser’s duty of care to me as a client under the new code of ethics?

Some of the key ethical standards that an adviser will be legally bound by in their dealings with clients are:

  • They cannot act, advise or refer with a conflict of interest or duty
  • They must have your informed consent to implement any strategies recommended in their advice
  • They must recommend strategies that are appropriate and in your best interest
  • They must have your informed consent before they deduct any fees from funds they are managing on your behalf
  • They must ensure your privacy and confidentiality in their record keeping
  • They must ensure their advice to you is not based on misleading information
  • They must ensure that they communicate effectively to ensure that you understand the advice and any products they are recommending.

All advisers must subscribe to a code monitoring body which ensures their cooperation with these ethical guidelines and can impose disciplinary action if they don’t comply.

All advisers must subscribe to a code monitoring body which oversees their cooperation with these ethical guidelines on an ongoing basis and can impose disciplinary action if they don’t comply.

The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority Limited was established in 2017 to set the education, training and ethical standards of financial advisers in Australia.

 

 

The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority Limited was established in 2017 to set the education, training and ethical standards of financial advisers in Australia.