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What are the professional standards?

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What are the professional standards?

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

  • Compulsory education requirements for both new and existing advisers
  • Supervision requirements (professional year) for new advisers
  • A code of ethics for the industry
  • An ongoing professional development component

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

Who is FAS (Treasury)?

Treasury 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.

The standard-setting function is maintained by the responsible Minister and Treasury, and ASIC is responsible for administering the financial adviser exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

For new entrants, the minimum requirements are:

  • Hold an approved bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)
  • Undertake a professional year (PY)
  • Pass the FAS exam prior to quarter 3 of the PY

Existing advisers who qualify for the 10-year experience pathway:

  • Do not have any tertiary requirements
  • Must have passed the FAS exam

For existing advisers who do not qualify for the 10-year experience pathway and are registered as current on the FAR between 1 Jan 2007 – 1 Jan 2019, the maximum education requirements are:

  • An approved graduate diploma (AQF8) comprising eight subjects by 1 January 2026
  • Passed the FAS exam by 1 Jan 2021

The minimum education requirements are:

  • One bridging course about the Code of Ethics (if it was not included in their qualification)
  • Depending on their previous formal education or coursework for industry designations, may be required to complete anywhere between one or eight subjects (including up to three bridging courses) at AQF8

The three bridging courses are:

Individual who provides personal financial advice to clients:

  • Registered on the FAR between 1 Jan 2016 and 1 Jan 2019
  • Does not meet the ‘experienced adviser’ criteria

Individual who provides personal financial advice to clients, and

  • Has 10 or more years’ cumulative experience in Australia between 1 Jan 2007 and 31 Dec 2021
  • No disciplinary action recorded on the FAR before 31 Dec 2021
  • Has passed the FAS exam

Individuals who are not existing or experienced advisers.

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.

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 Institute of Higher Education regulated by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), and able to offer AQF Level 7 -10 qualifications, 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 degreeMaster of Financial Planning
Approved by FAS*
Level 8Advanced knowledge and skills for professional/highly skilled work.Graduate DiplomaGraduate Diploma of Financial Planning
FAS approved
FAS’s maximum education requirement for existing advisers to be met by 1/1/2026
Graduate CertificateGraduate Certificate in Financial Planning
No AQF outcome will apply to the bridging courses Bridging course (3 units)FPC001B Economic and Legal Context for Financial Planning
Aligns to FAS bridging course: Financial Advice Regulatory & Legal Obligations

FPC002B Ethics and Professionalism in Financial Advice
Aligns to FAS bridging course: Ethics for Professional Advisers

FPC007B Client Engagement Skills
Aligns to FAS bridging course: Client and Consumer Behaviour, Engagement and Decision Making
FAS’s minimum education requirement for existing advisers to be met by 1/1/2026
No AQF outcome will apply to the bridging courses Bridging course (1 unit)FPC002B Ethics and Professionalism in Financial Advice
Aligns to FAS bridging course: Ethics for Professional Advisers
FAS’s minimum education requirement for existing advisers to be met by 1/1/2026
Bachelor honours degree
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
FNS60920 Advanced Diploma of ParaplanningIndividual seeking to enter the Financial Planning Industry as a Paraplanner.
Level 5Specialised knowledge and skills for skilled/paraprofessional work.DiplomaFNS50615 Diploma of Financial PlanningPrevious minimum education requirement for financial advisers prior to 2019
Level 4Theoretical and practical knowledge and skills for specialised and/or skilled work.Certificate IV

*Depending on version completed. May require additional FAS Code of Ethics subject.

Financial advisers are required to complete 40 hours of ‘qualifying CPD activities’ in each CPD year with a minimum requirement in the following areas:

  • Technical Competence – 5 hours
  • Client Care and Practice – 5 hours
  • Regulatory Compliance and Consumer Protection – 5 hours
  • Professionalism and Ethics – 9 hours
  • General – no set minimum

Kaplan Professional is the leading provider in the provision of industry CPD. Our flagship online platform Ontrack provides organisations and individuals with the content, tracking, reporting and consultancy they need to manage and meet their CPD obligations.

The FAS Financial Adviser Examination is a fundamental component of the education standards all financial advisers must pass to provide personal financial advice to clients.

From 1 January 2019, new entrants to the industry must pass the exam after they’ve completed a FAS-approved degree, and before commencing quarter 3 in their professional year.

The exam will test the practical application of advisers’ knowledge in the following competency areas:

  • Financial Advice Regulatory and Legal Requirements
  • Financial Advice Construction
  • Applied Ethical and Professional Reasoning and Communication

The duration of the exam is 3.5 hours (including 15 minutes’ reading time) and consists of multiple-choice and written-response questions.

We’re delighted to offer a range of online exam preparation resources to help you prepare and practice prior to sitting FAS’s Financial Adviser Examination. Gain access to an online preparation room as well as an online proctored practice exam, designed to simulate the structure, duration and exam conditions of the Financial Adviser Examination. Click here to learn more.

*Depending on version completed. May require additional FAS Code of Ethics subject.

RG 146 may continue to apply to existing advisers. Existing advisers should confirm these requirements with their licensee.