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Financial planners may quit if university degree requirements mandated

By: Peter Ryan | ABC


Tough new requirements for degree-level qualifications could see thousands of longtime financial planners decide to quit the troubled industry.

The Financial Planning Association (FPA), which represents 12,000 planners, is warning that draft legislation mandating a bachelors degree or equivalent by July 2019 is unfair and unworkable.

In a submission to the Federal Government, the FPA said it supported higher educational standards but the requirements could force some experienced planners without the necessary qualifications to reconsider their future in the industry.

The FPA's general manager of policy and conduct Dante De Gori told ABC radio's The World Today the bar needed to be raised in a sensible way.

"We applaud the Government for going hard on the proposed changes, but some are simply not practical or workable especially for existing financial planners," he said.

"The consequence of this not being addressed would be a dramatic reduction in financial planner numbers.

"This would impact tens of thousands of clients and hundreds of small planning businesses, many of which would have to close doors and shed employees."

The Federal Government's move to toughen qualification requirements comes after financial planning scandals at major banks including the Commonwealth, National Australia Bank and Macquarie Private Wealth.

Mr. De Gori said the draft legislation needed to be amended to develop better transition requirements for existing financial planners who would find it impossible to complete a bachelor degree by the 2019 deadline.

"This does not mean that existing financial planners are not required to do more," he explained.

"In some cases existing financial planners may need to complete further studies and some will be subject to a code of ethics for the first time."


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