In August, we covered two key changes to ASIC's adviser professional standards reforms - now, the regulator has relaxed certain requirements further so as to "simplify licensees’ disclosure obligations and enable ASIC to implement the required IT systems changes more effectively."
As per the headline requirements for the reforms, all "relevant providers" - that is, individuals who provide personal advice to retail clients on more complex financial products" must have a bachelor or higher degree or equivalent qualification approved by FASEA. They must also pass a FASEA-approved exam and, unless they're recognised as existing providers, complete a year of work and training.
Furthermore, licensees are required to notify the regulator of provisional relevant providers, licensees' CPD year and "any failures by relevant providers to comply with their CPD requirements, relevant providers who have met the exam requirement and the principal place of business and compliance scheme membership of their relevant providers." (These constitute what ASIC refers to as "earliest notifications".)
ASIC has amended the earliest notifications to 15 November 2019, and this information will be displayed on the regulator's Register of Relevant Providers from this date onwards.
Prior to that date (from January 1), licensees will not be required to tell ASIC about authorised provisional relevant providers, the start date of their CPD year, failures to comply with CPD requirements or existing providers that have passed their exam. Licensees will have 30 days from November 15 to provide this information.
ASIC also addressed certain "technical issues" that remained following the changes in August. These include clarifying that someone who was prohibited from providing financial services on 1 January 2019 can't be granted a license to become a relevant provider unless they meet education and training standards.
Also, ASIC noted the "situation where an existing provider is not a relevant provider."
"The Act imposes obligations on an existing provider to meet certain education and training standards by specified future dates," ASIC explained.
“These subsections appear to presuppose that an existing provider will be a relevant provider by these future dates. This will be the case in many circumstances but will not always be the case, for example, where an existing provider has retired."
For a detailed explanation of the existing professional standards regime and what it entails, refer back to this No More Practice interview with Financial Planning Association chief executive Dante De Gori.
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