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Comparing the TPB and FASEA’s education requirements for financial advisers

Comparing the TPB and FASEA’s education requirements for financial advisers

The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) sets the Education Standards for financial advisers. 

The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) sets the education requirements for financial advisers to register as an individual tax (financial) adviser


TPB vs FASEA education requirements

FASEA’s education pathways for new entrants

FASEA’s education pathways for existing advisers

TPB’s education pathways 


TPB vs FASEA education requirements

The table below summarises the key differences between the TPB and FASEA’s education requirements.

  TPB FASEA
Primary qualification Does not necessarily require a Bachelor or higher degree, or equivalent qualification. Requires a Bachelor or higher degree, or equivalent qualification.
Board approved courses Requires Board approved courses in commercial law and Australian taxation law for 3 (out of 4) education pathways.

Does not replicate the TPB’s Board approved courses. 

However it requires that a course in commercial law (or business law) or taxation law is one as defined by the TPB.

Examination There is no examination requirement. It only requires that at least 40% of assessment for Board approved courses has been undertaken under some form of independent supervision. 

Requires financial advisers to pass an exam approved by the Standards Body. 

For further information refer to Exam Standard on the FASEA website.

Foreign qualifications

The TPB will recognise the qualification on a case-by-case basis if it is recognised by the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition, a Department of Education and Training approved body. 

If recognised, new entrants will need to complete Board approved courses in Australian taxation law and commercial law.

FASEA will approve a foreign qualification if it is:
  • approved by a Department of Education and Training approved body
  • satisfied that the qualification is equivalent to a FASEA approved degree or qualification.

If recognised:

  • new entrants must complete an approved Graduate Diploma consisting of at least 8 courses
  • existing advisers must complete a minimum of 4 courses of study (depending on whether it is a relevant or non-relevant qualification).

For further information refer to Foreign Qualifications Standard on the FASEA website.


What this means for tax (financial) advisers

  • If you are already registered with us, you will need to assess your educational qualifications to ensure that they meet the FASEA’s requirements.  
  • To register with us, you will need to assess if the courses/units in taxation law and commercial law (or business law) you completed to meet FASEA’s requirements also meet our Board approved course requirements. 
  • If you have a foreign qualification that is approved by FASEA, it will also need to be separately assessed by the TPB to ensure it meets our requirements. 


FASEA’s education pathways for new entrants

There are two pathways for new entrants:

  • an undergraduate pathway
  • a postgraduate (or career changer) pathway — this applies to those with tertiary qualifications in another field and/or with at least three years of work experience in a related field.

The table below provides a summary of the two pathways:
 

Undergraduate pathway requirements Postgraduate pathway requirements
A FASEA approved (AQF7) Bachelor’s degree that:
  • is offered by a Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) registered higher education provider 
  • includes 24 courses over a 3-year period of full-time study
  • contains the FASEA’s Financial Adviser Curriculum as a core part of the program.
At least a FASEA approved (AQF8) Graduate Diploma that:
  • is offered by a Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) registered higher education provider 
  • includes 8 or more courses
  • contains the FASEA’s Financial Adviser Curriculum as a core part of the program.

FASEA will also approve Masters (AQF9) programs for this pathway and they must contain the FASEA’s Financial Adviser Curriculum as a core part of the program.
 

For further information refer to the FASEA website.


FASEA’s education pathways for existing advisers

The pathway for existing advisers to achieve the required Education Standard depends on their existing qualifications. 

  Approved degree pathway Relevant degree pathway Non-relevant degree pathway
Completed qualification

Applies to those who have completed a FASEA approved:

  • Bachelor degree (AQF7), 
  • Graduate Diploma (AQF8), or
  • Masters (AQF9) qualification.
  • Applies to those advisers who have completed a qualification in a related field of study which includes a:
    • Bachelor degree (AQF7), 
    • Graduate Diploma (AQF8), or 
    • Masters (AQF9) qualification.
  • The completed qualification above includes at least 8 courses in one or more designated fields of study in any combination (which may be across multiple degrees).
     
  • Applies to those advisers who have completed a qualification in a non-relevant field of study which includes:
    • a Bachelor degree (AQF7), 
    • Graduate Diploma (AQF8), or
    • Masters (AQF9) qualification.
  • The completed qualification above does not include at least 8 courses in one or more designated fields of study in any combination.
     
Further education required Must complete Ethics for Professional Advisers bridging course.  Must complete 4 subjects — 3 at AQF8 level and 1 FASEA approved subject. Must complete 7 subjects at AQF8 level.

For further information refer to the FASEA website.


Designated fields of study 

Designated fields of study include: 

  • financial planning (includes financial advice areas of superannuation, retirement, insurance, estate planning)
  • investments (includes all types of investments such as shares, derivatives, foreign exchange and options)
  • accounting
  • taxation/tax law (as defined by the TPB)
  • finance law
  • finance business law (as defined by the TPB)
  • estate law
  • banking
  • economics.


Existing adviser – No degree pathway

If an existing adviser does not have a degree, they must complete: 

  • a FASEA Graduate Diploma (AQF8) consisting of 8 courses of study, or
  • other approved qualifications (Bachelor Degree (AQF7) or Masters Degree (AQF9))

by no later than 1 January 2024.
 

Recognition of prior learning

FASEA has specified recognition of prior learning (RPL) requirements for existing advisers, however RPL for new entrants will be dependent on each Higher Education Providers credit and RPL policies.

For further information about RPL, refer to the FASEA website


TPB’s education pathways 

There are four qualification pathways available for an individual seeking registration as a tax (financial) adviser.  These are summarised in the table below.

Item in the Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009
 
Required primary qualification Required Board approved courses
Item 301 – Tertiary qualifications A degree or post-graduate award from an Australian tertiary institution (or an equivalent) in a ‘relevant discipline’*
Item 302 – diploma or higher award A diploma or higher award from a registered training organisation or an equivalent institution in a relevant discipline*
Item 303 – work experience Not required
Item 304 – membership of a professional association Voting member of a recognised tax (financial) adviser or tax agent association Not required

Note: A ‘relevant discipline’ includes: finance, financial planning, commerce, economics, business, tax, accountancy or law.

For further information refer to Qualifications and experience for tax (financial) advisers

 

Last modified: 15 November 2019