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ASIC releases information on professional standards for licensed accountants

ASIC has created a new online resource in a bid to help licensed accountants better understand the incoming professional standards requirements.

ASIC releases information on professional standards for licensed accountants
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The corporate regulator has created a new section on its website dedicated to detailing the incoming requirements, including the scope of reforms and associated key dates.

The reforms come off the back of amendments made to the Corporations Act to raise the education, training and ethical standards of “relevant providers”.

According to ASIC, a relevant provider is an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licensee, an authorised representative, employee or director of an AFS licensee, or an employee or director of a related body corporate of an AFS licensee, and authorised to provide personal advice to retail clients, as the AFS licensee or on behalf of the AFS licensee, in relation to relevant financial products.

Under the new requirements, all relevant providers must have a relevant bachelor or higher degree, or equivalent qualification; pass an exam; meet CPD requirements each year; complete a year of supervised work and training (professional year) – although this will not apply for individuals who are already relevant providers before 1 January 2019; and comply with a code of ethics and be covered by a compliance scheme that monitors and enforces compliance with the code of ethics.

The corporate regulator also notes that the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) will approve of education requirements, set the exam and CPD requirements, and develop the code of ethics.

FASEA’s education guidance released last December proposes that an AQF7 qualification, which is equivalent to a three-year full-time university degree, or an AQF8 qualification, which is equivalent to a postgraduate certificate, will be required for existing financial advisers and new entrants.

The list of existing approved higher education providers adopted by FASEA for authorisation is far from extensive, and excludes many popular institutions and tertiary avenues for accountants, with only 13 education providers listed.

The overview of the new requirements can be accessed on ASIC’s website.

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