Feedback from financial advisers suggests they are acknowledging the commitment of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA)’s requirements despite the recognised challenges of COVID-19, according to leading education provider Kaplan Professional. Over 2,000 advisers have been enrolled in every one of Kaplan Professional’s six annual intakes since the FASEA education requirements were confirmed, with enrolments further increasing during the pandemic. Since the beginning of the FASEA regime, Kaplan Professional has been cognisant of the burden placed on licensees and advisers. A conscious decision was made to reduce subject enrolment fees; support corporate groups with negotiated pricing; and allow advisers to lock in the price of their subject enrolment fees for the lifetime of their qualification, thereby safeguarding against any future increases. Kaplan Professional has made a further commitment to not increase its retail subject enrolment fees in this environment to allay any concerns of a price rise. The education provider has guaranteed this decision will not even be looked at until 2022. Kaplan Professional CEO Brian Knight said the vast majority of advisers have provided feedback that they just have to move forward and get on with meeting the FASEA requirements, even in the current environment. “You only have to look at the significant number of advisers enrolled with Kaplan Professional and the fact 90% had already completed their 40 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) in Ontrack before the original 30 June deadline, to understand advisers are facing up to the challenge despite the circumstances. “Although advisers appreciate the extensions, they are expressing a preference to not have these education commitments hanging over them for the next five to six years,” he said. Kaplan Professional’s continued focus is to help advisers grow their confidence to tackle both the FASEA exam and the education requirements. Three versions of the Kaplan Adviser Practice Exam (KAPE) are now available at an extremely low cost, making it the most authentic and comprehensive practice exam available. Over 6,000 advisers have completed KAPE, with many acknowledging its importance as a valuable preparation tool that helped them pass the FASEA exam because it simulated the structure, duration and supervised conditions. In addition to enabling them to meet the education requirements, advisers have stated Kaplan Professional’s FASEA-approved bridging courses are beneficial to exam preparation because they cover the core knowledge areas assessed in the FASEA exam. Mr Knight said Kaplan Professional is concentrating on individually supporting advisers who were anxious or concerned about the FASEA requirements. “We felt it was important to do more for these advisers, so we introduced personal consultations to support anyone who is apprehensive about sitting the FASEA exam or has failed and is struggling with self-doubt. “Depending on an adviser’s needs, we can support them with our standard exam preparation resources, in addition to one-on-one coaching and self-paced programs with facilitated group tutorial sessions. “We have also looked at further ways to assist advisers who are working and studying from home, understanding what will motivate them to keep up their momentum. Advisers have responded positively to our move to interactive classes, with the introduction of group sessions, engagement posts and individual tutor support. “To further assist anxious advisers, we are also offering supplementary assessments for the next intake (Study Period 5) to provide them with the best opportunity to pass a subject; online proctored exams so advisers can complete them from home; and extended early access to subject materials and assessments to help advisers get their studies off to the best possible start,” he said. The education provider has also partnered with the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) to provide further opportunities for advisers who want to specialise or achieve a professional designation. “Advisers who want to go beyond the minimum education requirement can combine a FASEA-approved Master of Financial Planning with the CFP® Certification Program,” Mr Knight said. Kaplan Professional’s next intake (Study Period 5) commences on 31 August, with early access available from 3 August. This is the last opportunity for advisers to complete a subject in 2020.