FASEA releases August Exam Results

Sep 30, 2020Media Releases


FASEA today released exam results from the seventh Financial Advisers Exam held in August 2020.

Result highlights include:

  • the exam was held from 13 to 18 August in exam centres and online
  • 82% of candidates passed the August exam (compared with an average of 84% across all exams)
  • 1,521 advisers sat the exam compared with an average of 1600 across all exams
  • the exam is marked to a credit standard and the pass rate varies with each exam
  • the exam was subject to ACER’s comprehensive marking approach and was set at a consistent standard to prior exams
  • approximately 10,000 advisers have passed the adviser exams held to date
  • 65% of advisers re-sitting the exam passed on their second attempt compared to an average of 54% in previous exams
  • overall, 89% of advisers who have sat the exam (irrespective of how often it was sat) have passed, representing 46% of advisers on ASIC’s Financial Adviser Register (FAR).

“FASEA is pleased to present the outcomes of the seventh exam and congratulates successful candidates on completing an important component of their education requirements under the Corporations Act during the current extraordinary circumstances.

Over 11,180 advisers have sat the exam with 9 in 10 demonstrating they have the skills to apply their knowledge of advice construction, ethics and legal requirements to the practical scenarios tested in the exam,” FASEA Chief Executive Officer Stephen Glenfield said.

The overall pass rate of 89% for advisers who have sat the exam to date demonstrates a strong performance by advisers, including those advisers who have passed after resitting.  An increase of 11% in the pass rate for advisers undertaking their first re-sit compared to previous exams indicates these advisers are preparing for their subsequent sitting allowing them to raise their knowledge to a level consistent with the challenge set by the exam.

Further analysis of the August exam data has highlighted areas for improvement, particularly amongst unsuccessful candidates.  Exam question areas advisers have underperformed for the August exam are set out below (categorised by curriculum areas).

Financial Advice Regulatory and Legal Requirements:

  • Demonstrating an understanding of the difference between personal advice, general advice and factual information and how they apply to different client scenarios
  • Assessing whether advice recommendations meet the client’s best interests
  • Assessing the impact conflicts of interest may have on advice recommendations

Financial Advice Construction:

  • Identification of client biases and how they may influence clients’ financial decisions and/or investment choices
  • Understanding the context of client requests for advice and how this may impact advice construction

Applied ethical and professional reasoning and communication

  • Applying Standard’s 2, 4 and 12 of the Code of Ethics to advice scenarios
  • Demonstrating an understanding of an adviser’s ethical obligations when advising on complex family structures

Over 700 advisers have registered for the October exam, to be held in metropolitan and regional locations and online from 13 to 18 October.   The Melbourne exams will continue to be held online only due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Over 1200 advisers have registered for the November exam, to be held in metropolitan and regional locations and online from 5 to 10 November 2020.

To assist advisers preparing for the exam, FASEA provides preparation resources, including practice questions, online, here.  Practice questions are regularly updated on the FASEA website or through the advisers’ exam account.  Feedback received from past re-sit participants in the Exam indicated these resources were useful for their Exam preparation.

The FASEA website also provides information on registration (link).

Additional Background
Section 921B (3) of the Corporations Act 2001 requires advisers to pass an exam approved by the standards setting body. The Act requires existing advisers to pass the exam before 1 January 2022.  New entrants are required to pass the exam before becoming a Provisional Relevant Provider.

The exam tests three domains of knowledge and skill:

  • financial advice regulatory and legal obligations
  • applied ethical and professional reasoning and communication: and
  • financial advice construction

FASEA, with the support of the Exam administrator (ACER), has successfully offered 7 exam sittings to date on more than 35 exam days and 439 exam sessions. Since June 2019, exams have been offered in capital cities and also in 22 regional locations across Australia (with the April and June 2020 exams being remote only exams due to COVID-19 restrictions).

Candidates are required to demonstrate professional reasoning and apply knowledge acquired to financial advice scenarios at AQF7 level of reasoning.

FASEA is offering six exam sittings in 2020 and 2021.  Unsuccessful candidates may re-sit the exam.


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.