We are pleased to present the second annual report of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority to our Minister, Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology, Senator the Honourable Jane Hume, the representative of our member, the Commonwealth of Australia.
During the 2018/19 year FASEA made solid progress in addressing its core purpose of implementing the Commonwealth’s Corporations Amendment (Professional Standards of Financial Advisers) Act 2017. This Act amended the Corporations Law with the intent of raising professional and education standards for financial advisers. In doing so, the Parliament sought to rebuild consumer trust and confidence in the sector.
Pursuant to the legislation, in the first half of 2017 FASEA was created as an independent, Government owned corporation, for the purposes of the Act. Early work of FASEA included identifying important elements of work program planning and establishing the basis on which FASEA would engage with stakeholders. Thereafter work commenced on standards development and communication.
Adopting a typical standards development process, FASEA worked through the process of developing consultation papers for each of the seven standards and accompanying policy documentation.
Throughout 2018/19 FASEA has concentrated on the design and implementation of the statutory framework necessary to operationalise our key functions.
We have consulted on and released legislative instruments to meet the statutory requirements of the Corporations Act and released standards and/or policies covering:
- Provisional Relevant Provider Term
- Work & Training (Professional Year)
- Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
- Education Pathways
- Foreign Qualifications
- Code of Ethics
Across the standards there were approximately 190 submissions received and reviewed.
FASEA has conducted an extensive consultation and meeting program with stakeholders. During the year, we held approximately 15 consultations across stakeholder forums and 40 meetings and consultations with stakeholder executives and boards. FASEA meets quarterly with its contributors to discuss business, operational and funding matters.
Key operational achievements included the running of the first exam for nearly 600 advisers in June 2019 and accreditation of 149 Higher Education Providers Bachelor degrees, Graduate Diplomas and bridging courses and recognition of prior learning for coursework leading to a designation with a number of associations.
The FASEA website provides an informative and user-friendly format for stakeholders wishing to keep abreast of FASEA’s work.
The website capability was enhanced to include a number of tools that assist advisers to better understand their obligations. An education pathway navigation tool allows advisers to input their education qualifications online and receive automatic feedback on the education they will potentially need to undertake.
Advisers wishing to receive feedback on their education pathway are now able to request a feedback assessment through the website. Advisers with a foreign qualification are able to request assessment and approval via an online application. The feedback can assist licensees to discharge their responsibility to ensure advisers meet the educational standard.
We thank our dedicated, industrious and expert FASEA staff. The substantial efforts of this team have produced a significant volume of work operationalising the FASEA standards.
FASEA is also fortunate to have a highly engaged Board with deep expertise in the fields they represent. The Board has consistently engaged in the program of work. The willingness to contribute and engage is reflective of the seriousness with which the Board regards FASEA’s legislated task. We thank each member of the FASEA Board for these contributions. We note and especially thank our directors who have retired: Michael O’Neill, Matthew Rowe and Steve Somogyi for the energy and expertise they brought to the role. And we welcome our new directors Elissa Freeman and Louise Lakomy who have quickly settled into the work of the Board.
Rebuilding trust and confidence is an important task for the sector, current and future consumers and the economy at large. It is to this end we will continue to work.
Catherine Walter AM, Chair
Stephen Glenfield, Chief Executive Officer
12 September 2019