New qualifications required for limited advisers, says expert

Financial qualifications must make a firmer distinction between comprehensive and limited advisers, says education mentor.



New guidelines for professional standards in the finance industry have been proposed by one expert educationalist, who believes the government must legislate to form a clearer distinction between comprehensive and limited financial advisers.
Dr. Mark Sinclair, managing director of Mentor Education, said in a statement, “Any legislation on qualifications should be focused on advisers who provide comprehensive personal advice and not overreach to the majority of advisers who provide only limited personal advice.”  
“Accountants, life insurance and other advisers seeking to provide personal advice in SMSFs, and who limit their advice to retail clients, should be exempt from the requirement to do a fully-fledged degree as this would entail studying subjects that are not relevant to that adviser. For example, accountants should not be required to study Estate Planning, Aged Care or Succession Planning if they are seeking only to provide SMSF advice.”
Sinclair believes that at a minimum, limited financial advisors should have completed two foundation subjects as part of a Bachelor of Financial Planning degree (with Ethics mandatory) along with three core subjects that offer specialisation. This would, he says, ensure consumers “of a standardised and appropriate bare minimum qualification level for limited financial advisers.”
“On the other hand,” said Sinclair, “those advisers who want to provide full financial plans and holistic advice should be required by law to do a standalone, 24-subject Bachelor of Financial Planning degree.”

Such a degree does not yet exist in Australia, though Sinclair believes existing infrastructure would make the establishment of one relatively seamless. "Certainly a five-year transition period for the development of such materials would suffice," said Sinclair.

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