Kaplan Professional believes that record enrolment numbers in its first intake of 2023 following a significant upward trend in the second-half of last year are proof that financial advisers are simply getting on with their education requirements regardless of the proposed experience pathway. The leading financial services education provider saw three key trends emerging. Many advisers who would qualify for the proposed 10-year exemption are continuing to study, enrolment numbers are at the largest they have been since late 2021 when the experience pathway was first proposed, and new entrants are enrolling in strong numbers. Based on its own extensive education analysis, around 50 per cent of advisers who have completed or are currently completing postgraduate financial planning studies with Kaplan Professional would qualify for the proposed 10-year exemption. Study Period 1 2023 enrolment insights Enrolments in Study Period 1 were at the highest they have been since late 2021, continuing the upward trend of the three preceding intakes in 2022 Nearly 400 advisers commenced postgraduate financial planning studies for the first time with Kaplan Professional – over 70% of these enrolments were in the Master of Financial Planning or Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning; just over 100 enrolled in the standalone Ethics bridging course Overall enrolment trends Enrolments in the Master of Financial Planning are at their highest levels ever because advisers are pushing on from the Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning due to interest in specialist elective subjects and professional designation pathways There was a trend towards achieving full qualifications instead of completing standalone bridging courses Enrolments in specialist electives such as Aged Care, SMSF Regulation and Taxation, Business Planning and Practice Management and Derivatives in Financial Planning have more than doubled Still large enrolment numbers in core financial planning subjects such as Ethics and Professionalism in Financial Advice, Economic and Legal Context for Financial Planning, Client Engagement Skills, Superannuation and Retirement Advice, Insurance Advice, Taxation for Financial Planning and Investment Advice Strong numbers of advisers and new entrants enrolling in postgraduate financial planning studies for the first time Kaplan Professional CEO Brian Knight said he attributed these insights and trends to advisers embracing increased professionalism, which was largely self-driven because they are not wanting to rely on the proposed experience pathway. “We applaud those advisers who have positively taken on the challenge of postgraduate financial planning studies, considering the large majority of them are working full time, running businesses and supporting their families. “The theme of just getting on with it regardless of whether or not they meet the proposed 10-year exemption seems to be a consistent one. “There is no doubt that the critical element of education in any profession is increasingly well understood by advisers. “While engagement with formal education is at its highest level since late 2021, pleasingly advisers are also extending their knowledge and skills by completing continuing professional development and specialist short courses in record numbers,” he said. Knight said a number of other factors were also driving enrolments. “Those who are enrolling in postgraduate financial planning qualifications for the first time are looking at it as a longterm investment – one that benefits both their career and the quality of advice that they deliver to their clients. “Licensees are also encouraging paraplanners and support staff to upskill with a view to potentially filling gaps in the industry. “The increased desire to specialise through our diverse range of electives and the ability to achieve the Financial Planning Association of Australia’s Certified Financial Planner® and SMSF Association’s SMSF Specialist Advisor™ designations concurrently with their masters degree is incredibly attractive to advisers who want to go further than the graduate diploma. “Advisers have also expressed the benefit of being able to fit their study around their work and personal life, with the flexibility of six intakes enabling them to study at any time throughout the year – most complete at least three subjects per year,” he said.