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FPA pushes competency assessment instead of experience pathway

By Mike Taylor4 July 2022

The Financial Planning Association (FPA) has reasserted its opposition to the so-called “experience pathway” currently under consideration by Treasury and instead is arguing for the imposition of competency assessment.

The FPA’s views have been revealed in a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) in which it is arguing that the Government should adopt a competency framework for the financial planning profession that recognises both education and experience to demonstrate competence at AQF7+ level, replacing the existing education framework.

“This will provide pathways to demonstrate competencies with flexibility of completing study or demonstrating competence irrespective of a planner’s years of experience,” it said.

“This will benefit new entrants who will have more pathways through which to enter the profession from other careers or financial service education backgrounds, as well as provide migration competency demonstration pathways for foreign financial planners who are looking to move to the Australian profession,” the FPA submission said.

The submission then went on to state: “It should be noted that the FPA does not support an experience exemption as consulted on by Treasury in late 2021.

Instead, it is arguing that a framework be implemented allowing experienced financial planners to “demonstrate they are competent to provide advice through a competency assessment framework similar to those used in the tertiary education sector already for postgraduate qualifications”.

Dealing with the so-called experience pathway, the FPA submission noted that it did envisage a 10-year sunset period.

Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor

Managing Editor/Publisher, Financial Newswire

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Kym Bailey
1 month ago

(I think many thought this should have been the way the uplift was first envisaged.) The key problem with a competency pathway seems to be where a person has specialised and therefore doesn’t have experience or competence in all potential financial planning areas. Do you have different pathways depending on the specialisation? This goes against the fundamental construction of the educational uplift brought via FASEA. It was envisaged that everyone starts with a generalist qualification and then can specialise as their career develops. Conceptually this is good for new entrants but it cannot be reverse engineered for those that are well progressed in their career.
I can’t see that an experience pathway is the right answer either (Stephen Jones has a lot to learn) and, it has a precedent. At one stage, the FPA allowed experienced advisers to circumvent the FPA program due to experience and that undermined the designation. To do this right, a competency assessment should be tailored to the adviser’s specialisation and if they fail the assessment in any area, then they should have to undertake formal education in that area. There is little benefit in making an investment adviser becoming competent in delivery of insurance advice and likewise the insurance specialist developing competence in investment advice. These 2 highly specialised advice areas are big enough for their own qualification. We should remember that competency is different to understanding. All advisers regardless of the advice area they practice in need to understand the end to end advice process and the response to the FASEA industry exam indicates that some don’t think that should be the case. They should just be carved out and nothing needs to change. If you can’t pass the FASEA exam then it should be back to school. What the school looks like should be the moveable piece here and not a single, full financial planning undergraduate. An AQF7 level degree for insurance or investment specialists would have plenty of content as half the course would be on the end to end advice process and how to do it correctly. Technical competency is likely to be able to be exempted via a rigorous RPL process.

Peter Cain
1 month ago

Call me pessimistic, but I’m betting that the FPA would be volunteering to do the capacity assessment, for a nominal fee!!

Adviser 1
1 month ago

This is proof the FPA supports bureaucracy and red tape. It is trying to undermine the AIOFP which has really been representing Advisers.