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Jones looks to shorten exam, improve ethics code

Once the advice review is completed, the minister has asked Treasury to look at updating the ethics code and assessing the viability of a shortened adviser exam.

The new assistant treasurer and minister for financial services, Stephen Jones, has backed up his education pathway plan with a call to review the Code of Ethics and cut back of the number of questions in the adviser exam.

In a recent ministerial release Jones said that after engaging with the industry, he has “identified improvements” that stakeholders think could be made to the standards in the adviser Code of Ethics.

“I have heard these views and I have asked Treasury to consult on the Code in 2023, after the Government has considered its response to the Quality of Advice Review,” Jones stated in the release.

  • The code has come under considerable criticism since its inception, with advisers noting that Standard 3, for example, which deals with conflicts, does not marry-up with directives in the Corporations Act. While the code compels advisers to “not act” where a conflict exists, the Act states that conflicts should be managed.

    The government has charged Treasury to review the adviser exam and “explore” areas where there might be room for improvement, “such as reducing the number of questions”.

    “I continue to support the exam as a benchmarking tool which tests the practical application of a financial adviser’s knowledge, including on regulatory and legal requirements, and ethical reasoning,” the minister stated. “I remain committed to the exam testing these knowledge areas and content.”

    Tahn Sharpe

    Tahn is managing editor across The Inside Network's three publications.

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