Jayson Forrest is the managing editor of Money & Life Magazine.
The FPA has launched Return to Learn - an online hub of tools and resources, supporting practitioner members as they navigate the FASEA education standards.
With new education requirements for new and existing planners, new CPD standards of 40 hours a year applying from 1 January 2019, a new ongoing professional development component, in addition to a new Code of Ethics that all practitioners must comply with from 1 January 2020 and an industry exam that needs to be passed by 1 January 2021, the FPA has launched Return to Learn – an online hub of tools and resources to support practitioners as they transition to the new Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) framework.
Return to Learn is an online education hub containing everything planners and licensees need to know to navigate the FASEA education standards and professional requirements for new and existing planners, including tips for planners undertaking further study.
Return to Learn was many months in the making and developed in-house by the FPA’s education and policy experts, with co-operation from FASEA-approved tertiary education providers, and tested by practitioner members.
The online resource was developed in response to FASEA’s education pathways, which documents the range of pathways for new and existing financial planners to comply with FASEA’s education criteria for planners.
Under FASEA’s framework, the maximum requirement for a new entrant will be an approved bachelor degree of 24 subjects and for an existing planner, it will be a graduate diploma of eight subjects.
The minimum requirements for a new entrant will be an approved graduate diploma of eight subjects and for an existing planner, it will be one subject: FASEA’s bridging course, the FASEA Code of Ethics and Code Monitoring Bodies.
According to FASEA, the amount of education a planner will be required to undertake will depend on the amount of education they already have.
To assist planners in determining their education requirements, the FPA has developed Return to Learn – an online hub offering ‘one-stop’ access to information, tools and resources to support planners as they transition to the new FASEA standards.
“All planners are impacted by FASEA, whether it’s further study, the exam or complying with the new Code of Ethics module. The FPA is committed to assisting members transition smoothly to the new framework,” De Gori says.
“By using Return to Learn, we will help individual members work out the right education pathway for them, and show planners how to manage their work and study requirements.”
According to De Gori, Return to Learn was designed as a resource to support members by cutting through the confusion and misinformation concerning the new education framework, and seamlessly guiding them through their education pathway.
Return to Learn features concise explanations of FASEA’s policies and Code of Ethics, as well as invaluable education tools that are conveniently grouped together in one easily accessible hub on the FPA Learn website at learn.fpa.com.au.
The hub contains a wealth of information, providing users with a a wide range of tools, fact sheets, videos and tips that have been specifically designed to help planners. These tools range from video tutorials that help planners prepare for their exams, to information on the various approved tertiary education providers, including course requirements, course costs and required time commitments.
“This resource guides planners through their education pathway,” De Gori says. “It will help planners identify what study credits are available to them with all the different education providers; it will help them decide which is the best education provider for their specific education needs; it will provide practitioner members with the support to prepare them for the financial planner exam; and it equips them with the necessary information for any further study they may need to do.”
Tools and resources
While the Return to Learn hub offers a wide selection of tools and resources for planners to access, there are a couple of features that De Gori is particularly excited by. One of these is the FASEA education pathways tool.
“By answering a series of questions, users will be able to identify what further studies they will need to undertake in order to comply with the new education standards, whether this is a bridging unit or more intensive study,” he says.
De Gori is also excited by the ‘one-stop’ education matrix comparison tool, which lists and compares all the approved education providers offering postgraduate degrees, enabling planners to easily compare and identify the best study option for them.
“We believe this comparison tool to be the first of its kind in the market,” De Gori says. “Planners and licensees can see at a glance what degree and courses are available in the market, and directly compare them to other education providers.
“This tool includes helpful information like: duration of the program, cost per subject, full program cost, delivery mode and much more. It’s a very beneficial resource for practitioners.”
De Gori adds that once FASEA releases the practice exam, it will be linked to the FPA Return to Learn portal, and study resources will be provided to help members prepare for the exam. He also reveals the FPA is currently working on tools to enable planners to fulfil their CPD requirements, including the FPA’s updated CPD policy, which aligns with the new FASEA requirements.
The online education and resource hub is free for members to use. It can be accessed by clicking here.
Wide range of tools
FPA return to Learn includes a wide range of tools, including:
Education pathways tool – By answering a series of questions, users will be able to identify what further studies they will need to undertake in order to comply with FASEA’s new education standard.
Cost comparison tool – This ‘one-stop shop’ of all the approved education providers offering postgraduate degrees, allows planners to compare degrees and help them to identify their best option. The tool also includes a comparison of the credits each university will allocate to members who have completed the five unit CFP® Certification Program. The tool also includes links to the University Credit and Recognition of Prior Learning policies.
In addition, the FPA has formally applied to FASEA for accreditation of all education pathways into the CFP® Certification Program where FASEA has not already awarded credits.
FASEA exam – This tool includes a range of study resources including transitioning to university level studies, preparing for assessments and exams, study techniques, time management tips and much more. FASEA’s practice exam and recommended reading lists will also be available on FPA Return to Learn once they are released by FASEA.
FPA CPD policy – The FPA’s CPD policy has been updated to align with the new FASEA requirements.
Easy and intuitive
Navigating the new FPA Return to Learn online portal couldn’t be easier. When you first enter Return to Learn, you will see the dashboard. This contains quick links to the FPA’s CPD course catalogue, CPD tracker and Return to Learn.
However, the CPD course catalogue and CPD tracker are currently still in development, but will be rolled out during 2019.
Using Return to Learn is easy and intuitive. On the home page, click on the tiles to go to a desired topic, like ‘FASEA policy on education pathways’ and ‘Financial adviser exam’. Once inside, you will see the grey buttons on top of the header. Use these buttons to navigate to sub-topics. And use the ‘home’ button to go back to the main page.
You may also prefer to navigate using the sidebar to the left of the screen, or use the small arrows to close this view.