The government of Australia has announced plans to introduce legislation this year to set up a new independent standards body to govern professionals standards of the country’s financial advisors.
The legislation, to be introduced to parliament later this month, would mandate professional standards for advisors such as compulsory education requirements, ongoing professional development, and a single uniform exam.
Existing advisers will have time until 1 January 2021 to pass the exam and until 1 January 2024 to reach degree-equivalent status.
The proposed standards body will be responsible for developing and setting the industry exam, developing the code of ethics, and determining the education and development requirements for new and existing advisors.
The cost of setting up the new body will be funded by the large banks and AMP, while its chairman and directors will be appointed by the government. The new professional standards regime would formally begin on 1 January 2019.
Minister for revenue and financial services Kelly 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.”