The policy of requiring financial advisers in Australia to hold a bachelor’s degree will be scrapped if the Labor Party win next year’s Federal Election.
Labor’s Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Stephen Jones, made the announcement at this week’s Association of Independently Owned Financial Professionals Conference.
In a speech that reflected on Labor’s record of reforming and building Australia’s superannuation sector, Jones noted the nation’s superannuation system has placed “…real financial power into the hands of many more Australians”.
However, Jones says it has never been harder for Australians to access independent, trustworthy advice, and that the ongoing decline in adviser numbers has led to an estimated 28% jump in advice fees over the last two years.
In recognising the value of financial advisers, and the importance of the role they play, he said: “If you’ve been working for a decade as a financial adviser with a good record, a Labor Government will not ask to you take that bachelor’s degree to keep your qualifications.”
We’re going to assume that ten years-plus experience is worth at least a degree
He added: “We’re going to assume that ten years-plus experience is worth at least a degree.”
It has been a requirement for financial advisers in Australia to have an ‘approved’ bachelor’s degree since January 2019.
However, in making the announcement, Jones cautioned that a Labor Government would not be scrapping current professional standards reforms. He said Labor would still expect advisers to:
- Pass their professional exams
- Meet continuing professional development requirements
- Abide by an appropriate professional code of ethics
“But we won’t be asking you to waste your time on degrees you don’t need,” he said. “We’re going to treat you like professionals.”
Riskinfo will report further details in relation to Labor’s commitment in the lead-up to next year’s Federal election. No polling date has been set, but it will need to be held by 21 May.