Risk Product, Company and Regulatory Updates as at 24 July 2018

Product Updates

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AMP replaces Horizons with FASEA-compliant training program
AMP's Horizons program is no longer, replaced with a FASEA-compliant financial adviser education program for advisers with approved degrees. The new program, Adviser Pathways, is a 2-3-year course that focuses on advice delivery, but only after an adviser has completed Griffith University's financial planning skills course in their first year. 

TAL Risk Academy diabetes course launch
TAL is now offering training in diabetes with the course run through the TAL Risk Academy. The course teaches advisers and support staff about diabetes (diagnosis and treatment) and terminology required for underwriting and assessing claims. 

Regulatory Updates

FASEA releases draft financial adviser exam guide
The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) has released its exam guide for financial advisers, with the following proposals: 

  • A 65 per cent pass mark will be required for all advisers taking the Financial Adviser Examination
  • 75 per cent pass mark for FASEA Code of Ethics component
  • Minimum 50 per cent pass for other four components of exam

There will be five components to the exam, with different weightings as follows: 

  1. 30 per cent for Corporations Act, with a focus on financial services and markets (Chapter 7)
  2. 15 per cent for FASEA Code of Ethics
  3. 20 per cent for financial advice construction, regarding the suitability of advice for differing consumer groups
  4. 10 per cent for behavioural finance, which includes client and consumer behaviour, engagement and decision-making
  5. 25 per cent for applied ethical and professional reasoning and communication

Existing financial advisers must pass the exam by 1 January 2021, and new advisers (from 1 January 2019 or those returning to the industry as of that date) must pass the exam after completing their tertiary degree, and before commencement of their professional year. 

The exam is currently sitting at 75 questions, comprised of multiple choice and written answers, with a large portion of the exam focusing on case studies. FASEA is clear that it expects advisers to pass on their first try, with only exceptional circumstances available for resits, which are capped at a maximum of two. 

FASEA is seeking feedback from the industry, with the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) already speaking up with some concerns, including that advisers will find the exam too hard. The AFA's Phil Anderson issued a statement in which he says that a four-hour closed-book exam seems 'excessive', and that more clarity should be provided on what advisers should study for.