The federal government has announced it will introduce a raft of changes to professional standards for financial planners by the end of the year.
Financial services minister Kelly O'Dwyer announced new education standards for planners will be mandated from 1 January 2019.
In a statement, Ms O’Dwyer said, “This independent standards body will raise minimum standards in the financial advice industry and improve public confidence in the sector.
“The government will introduce its legislation on the reform package into Parliament following final consultations with industry and consumer groups later this month.”
According to the statement, the reforms will include compulsory education requirements for both new and existing financial planners.
It will also include supervision requirements for new planners, as well as a code of ethics for the industry. Further, there will be an exam that will represent a common benchmark across the industry and an ongoing professional development component.
As announced on 28 April 2016, the new professional standards regime will commence on 1 January 2019. Existing planners will have until 1 January 2021 to pass the new exam and until 1 January 2024 to reach degree-equivalent status.
Also as part of the reforms, an independent standards body will be established to “govern the professional standing of the financial advice industry”, the statement said.
The body will be responsible for developing and setting the industry exam, developing the code of ethics and determining the education and development requirements for both new and existing planners.
The body’s chairman and directors will be appointed by the minister, and the cost of establishing the body will be met exclusively by the large banks and AMP.
“Once the standards body is operational, the government will take steps to develop an ongoing industry funding model for the body,” the statement said.
“The government will work with stakeholders to ensure the ongoing funding model is developed and implemented as soon as practicable.”
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