FASEA could impose specialisation training within two years

The move to require specialist qualifications to give advice on self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) could come from the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) within two years, according to the SMSF Association’s head of education and technical, Peter Hogan.

Hogan told delegates at the Association’s National Conference in Melbourne today that, when asked by the advocacy group, FASEA had said that specialist requirements in the field would be “a couple of years down the track”. He said it wasn’t clear however, whether they meant two years from making the comment or from when the FASEA regime took effect.

The Association had been encouraging the Authority to consider SMSF advice as above that of superannuation generally and therefore needing of specialist training.

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“But they pretty much said that they are flat out with trying to do what they were already trying to do,” Hogan said, hence the two-year reprieve for advisers in the SMSF space.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Productivity Commission (PC) both recommended specialist training requirements for SMSF advisers recently, but the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry didn’t see the need for one.

Regardless, Hogan said that the Association is “hopeful that those comments [from ASIC and the PC] might bring that indicative two-year period forward”.

The SMSF Association already offered a specialist accreditation in SMSFs through the University of Adelaide. Money Management has explored what a FASEA specialist qualification could involve here.

Hogan also used his talk to highlight issues with FASEA’s Code of Ethics, especially provision 12 that obliges advisers to report anyone that they believed wasn’t giving appropriate advice.

“That in my mind is a fairly difficult and onerous obligation … you might be in breach of the Code for not reporting someone who is in breach of the Code,” he said, adding that the Association was in talks with FASEA about adapting this requirement.

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