Australia’s Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) has called on the Labor Party (ALP) to support a motion for a one-year extension for planners who are required to complete their exams by the end of 2020.
AFA chief executive Philip Kewin said that the Australian government announced the Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 Measures No. 3) Bill back in August 2019 and that the advisory community has been operating with that measure in mind.
But, of course, the outbreak of covid-19 has both complicated and slowed things down.
“With the commencement of the coronavirus crisis, financial advisers seeking certainty on this extension have been impacted by the closure of parliament, delaying the necessary debate in the senate, and also the cancellation of face-to-face exams,” Kewin continued.
“The AFA reminds the senate that, at this stage, fewer than 30% of current advisers have passed the exam, leaving 70% who would be forced to cease providing financial advice if they cannot pass the exam by the end of this year.
“This leaves the hundreds of thousands of clients of these financial advisers exposed, the same clients who are now increasingly reliant upon their adviser for support and guidance,” he added
Kewin said that, at this time, it’s crucial for advisers to support and focus on their clients, many of whom have lost their jobs or were forced to shut businesses.
He added that there was bipartisan support for the extension of the deadline due to the delay in the availability of the exam, but the pandemic has added further pressure to the situation together with a change of stance from the APL.
“We have now been advised that this bipartisan support has been withdrawn and the ALP wants to include an unrelated amendment that will most likely prevent it being addressed in the senate this week.
“We request that the senate take action to pass this bill this week and avoid jeopardising the future and wellbeing of the financial advice profession, and their clients,” Kewin added.