Last week I finally sat the FASEA exam, which became compulsory for all financial advisers and stockbrokers in Australia, as a recommendation of the 2017 Financial Services Royal Commission.
 
Literally every adviser and broker in the industry needs to sit and pass this exam by the end of this year. It has a 70% pass requirement and if you pass you get little feedback, if you fail you get told your areas of weakness.
 
While I acknowledge and support the view that the financial services industry needs to shape up and truly become a profession, the timing of this deadline has caused all sorts of pain for advisers and brokers.
 
At a time when the world is already in the greatest turmoil of a generation, the enormous study workload attached to this exam has taken advisers and brokers away from their families, friends, businesses and clients.
 
This is in addition to the increased mental stress and anxiety that many advisers have faced – and not dealt with – due to the pressure of running a business through five COVID lockdowns.
 
Through my work on radio, I have been fortunate to have access to Senator Jane Hume, Minister for Superannuation and Financial Services, who I have interviewed a number of times.
 
As part of these interviews, I have made the point that to force the people in our industry to go through this extra stress and strain in the middle of a global pandemic is playing with our lives and livelihoods.
 
Fortunately, the Minister has been willing to listen to our experiences and has taken on board the feedback. It might be too late to alleviate any of the additional pain we’ve been put through over the past 18 months, but at least she’s on side.