Government pushes for financial services exam


Momentum is building for the controversial introduction of a national exam for financial services professionals, with a Federal Parliamentary Committee laying out a plan to overhaul professional qualifications.

Last month, a Parliamentary Joint Committee released its report following an inquiry on professionalism in the financial services industry, recommending the minimum educational standard be raised to degree-level and that all finance industry professionals sit an annual exam to prove their competence.

ASIC Chairman Greg Medcraft told the Australian Financial Review his preference would be for a co-regulatory model, with the industry setting competence levels and ASIC overseeing the examinations, in a similar fashion to the US Series 7 stockbroker exam.

“It is essential we have a robust, nationally consistent qualification for advisers,” Medcraft says.

“This will help ensure that Australian investors can have the trust and confidence in financial advice that they deserve. I believe a national exam for financial advisers is fundamental to this vision.”

NIBA has lobbied against proposals to require degrees for professionals in the industry, with NIBA CEO Dallas Booth saying there is evidence that much of the bad advice in the Commonwealth Bank financial planning scandal was provided by degree-holders.

“University degrees are not necessarily the answer,” he says.

“University degrees don’t fix ethics and they don’t fix culture.

“Some other sectors have massive issues with their culture but the culture in broking has for a very, very long time been all about acting in the interest of clients and looking out for their needs. That ethos is inherent in broking.”