Anyone wanting to pursue a career in financial planning (known as a “New Entrant”) must enter via one of a few pre-determined education pathways:
- Pathway One – Complete an approved Undergraduate Degree.
- Pathway Two – Work in the industry, complete Vocational Qualifications (Diploma & Advanced Diploma) and apply these as Credits against Pathway One. The “earn as you learn” approach.
- Pathway Three – Complete an approved Postgraduate Degree (entry requirements apply).
All pathways also require a New Entrant to complete a Professional Year Program and pass the national FASEA Exam before being registered on the ASIC Financial Adviser Register as a Financial Planner. Let’s explore these pathways using a real-world example.
Pathway Three: Career Changer – part-time Postgraduate Diploma
Mark was a Manager at a large Theme Park. With the onset of COVID-19, the tourism industry was heavily impacted, and he was made redundant.
Mark loved his job and enjoyed helping people get the most out of the experience at the theme park. Mark had entered the industry 10 years earlier from university after completing a Bachelor of Arts. During his time with the Theme Park, he was constantly learning and broadening his skills set and was highly proficient with financial statements and had excellent interpersonal communication skills.
At a friend’s BBQ shortly after being made redundant, he was speaking with someone who, upon hearing his skill set, suggested Mark might consider a career in financial planning given he was good with numbers and enjoyed dealing with people.
Mark investigated the requirements of becoming a Financial Planner as a career changer and discovered he must:
- Complete a Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning (8 subjects). His Bachelor of Arts met the entry rules.
- Complete a Professional Year (PY).
- Complete the national FASEA Exam in the first 6 months of the Professional Year.
Mark was willing to do this. He approached recruiters, as well as financial planning firms in his local area. His persistence paid off as he was offered a part-time role as a Client Services Officer (CSO) with a local firm. The owner of the practice said he was willing to take a chance on Mark because of his skills set, his maturity and, should things go well, a possible option to purchase equity in the business overtime as a gradual succession plan.
Mark and his boss then mapped out a plan which involved the following:
- Mark commenced employment part-time (2 days per week) and commenced his studies in the Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning (GDFP) on a part-time basis. The aim was to complete the eight subject GDFP within 18 months, given the university offered trimesters.
- Over the 18-month period, Mark’s role would expand to include paraplanning and he would increase his working hours from 2 days per week up to 4 days per week. His starting salary package was $55,000 (including superannuation) on a pro-rata basis.
- Mark completed the GDFP in the 18-month timeframe. His course debt was $24,000 and this was deferred under the FEE-HELP scheme (payable through the taxation system, much like HECS).
- Upon completion of the GDFP, Mark was offered the role of “Associate Adviser” with a remuneration package was $70,000 (including superannuation). This was a full-time position.
- At the same time, Mark’s boss registered him for the Professional Year (PY) Program.
- Mark completed his Professional Year and passed the national FASEA Exam halfway through the PY.
- Mark was registered on the ASIC Financial Adviser Register as a Financial Planner.
- Mark was promoted to the role of Financial Planner and his salary package increased to $88,000 (including superannuation).
Mark and his boss agreed that after one year’s full-time employment with the firm, they would discuss a possible business succession plan to be executed over a ten-year period.