Guidance given to FASEA questioned by FPA

The guidance given to Financial Advisor Standards and Ethics Association (FASEA) has been questioned by the Financial Planning Association (FPA). This occurred after the FASEA rejected a study related to the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation while accepting unrelated qualifications.

The Association received 1,700 responses from members in the 24 hours after asking for feedback on the new proposals. Member feedback has confirmed the FPA’s concern that the FASEA proposals were over-engineered and reduce consumers ability to access advice.

Neil Kendall, FPA chair, said the financial planning sector has spent 20 years building a learning culture among practitioners, which would be undermined by the proposed FASEA standards. Members have shown their outrage and disbelief that FASEA can ignore the CFP financial planning-specific study, but still consider a law degree as relevant to financial planning qualifications.

Kendall continued to say an existing planner with a law degree only needs to complete a non-technical bridging course to meet standards, while a financial planner with eight subjects in the Advanced Diploma, a business degree, and five Masters level subjects in the CFP program is considered unqualified.

The FASEA board has not been receiving the right guidance on education standards, Kendall said, adding the proposal overlooks adviser requirements to pass an exam, a failsafe in picking up those who don’t possess the appropriate knowledge. It is broadly accepted that those who don’t have a university degree need to undertake more professional study, however, those with degrees and further financial planning specific study are appalled at being told they are essentially unqualified.

The FPA has asked for clarification from FASEA on their new proposals but has not received a response. A meeting has been urgently arranged with Mark Brimble, acting managing director of FASEA.