Education and professional standards for financial advisers

What are the new professional standards?

The introduction of a range of education and ethical standards will require new and existing advisers giving financial advice on Tier 1 financial products (excludes general insurance, deposit products and personal sickness and accident) to retail clients to meet new requirements, including:

  • Compulsory education requirements for both new and existing advisers;
  • Supervision requirements for new advisers;
  • A code of ethics for the industry;
  • An exam that will represent a common benchmark across the industry; and
  • An ongoing profession development component.

Importantly, the standards relate to Tier 1 financial product personal advice. Tier 2 financial products and those giving general advice only on Tier 1 products are not covered by the new standards.


Who is FASEA?

The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) has been tasked with governing the conduct of professionals in the financial advice sector by establishing mandatory educational and training requirements, developing and setting an industry exam, as well as the formation of a code of ethics that all advisers will be required to adhere to.

What are the education requirements?

FASEA announced that from 1 January 2019, new entrants into the financial planning occupation will require an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Level 7, FASEA-approved qualification, equivalent to a bachelor degree. For existing advisers, the transition arrangements are yet to be determined.


What is an AQF level?

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) specifies the standards for educational qualifications in Australia. It’s administered by the government and ranges from vocational education to higher education. There are 10 levels of AQF, commonly known as degrees, diplomas and certificates.

AQF ensures national recognition and consistency as well as a common understanding of what defines each qualification.


What do the AQF levels mean?

Each of the 10 levels are defined by a set of learning outcomes that should be attained by a graduate of a qualification at that level. Similar to a university, Kaplan Professional is a registered higher education provider regulated by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), and able to offer AQF qualification Level 4-10, as well as short courses addressing specific training needs that don’t result in an AQF qualification.


AQF LevelGraduate outcomesQualificationsKaplan Professional QualificationsApplicability to the financial services industry
Level 10Systematic and critical understanding of a complex field of learning and specialised research skills for the advancement of learning and/or for professional practice.Doctoral degree
Level 9Specialised knowledge and skills for research, and/or professional practice.Masters degree
Master of Financial Planning
Approved higher education qualification adopted by FASEA for authorisation*
Level 8Advanced knowledge and skills for professional/highly skilled work.Graduate Diploma

Graduate Certificate

Bachelor honours degree
Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning

Graduate Certificate of Financial Planning
Level 7Broad and coherent knowledge and skills for professional work.Bachelor degreeNew entrant requirement for financial advisers from 1/1/2019
Level 6Broad knowledge and skills for paraprofessional/highly skilled.Advanced diploma

Associate degree
Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning – Kaplan Financial Planner Level 2
Level 5Specialised knowledge and skills for skilled/paraprofessional work.DiplomaDiploma of Financial Planning – Kaplan Financial Planner Level 1Current minimum requirement for financial advisers
Level 4Theoretical and practical knowledge and skills for specialised and/or skilled work.Certificate IV

*Provided you complete FPE011 Debt Strategies and FPE016 Self Managed Superannuation Funds.

We're here to help

Let us help you navigate your next step. We can explain what we know so far about the new education standards, where you currently are on your journey, and assist you to understand your current options.

We can call you for a confidential conversation. Please complete the form below and one of our experienced and knowledgeable Student Advisers will be in touch.

  • Tell us a little bit more about your situation

    To help our Student Adviser prepare for the conversation, you can choose to tell us a little bit more about your situation. This will ensure we’re armed with the information to provide advice that is best suited to your needs.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.