Financial advisors given five year reprieve on standards

FINANCIAL advisors already in the industry will get to operate for five years before stricter standards are imposed on them.

Revenue Minister Kelly O'Dwyer and Labor's treasury spokesman Chris Bowen both gave speeches at a Financial Services Council conference on Thursday.

Mr Bowen called for more action on dodgy financial advisors, given a series of scandals involving advisors and planners at major banks.

But Ms O'Dwyer has instead given existing advisors an extra two years to meet the new standards.

Those standards, including holding a relevant degree, passing an exam and completing a "professional year" in the industry, were to take effect in July 2019.

But Ms O'Dwyer on Thursday extended that deadline for existing advisors to January 2021, with exams for those already working in the sector to start from January 2019.

All new advisors will instead need to meet the new standards from January 2019, and both new and existing advisors will need to sign a new code of ethics for the industry from January 2019, six months earlier than previously planned.

Ms O'Dwyer said the new "transition period" reflected the need for existing advisors to balance the extra education with the demands of full-time work as advisors, while the rules put no bearing on their employers to support their further education within their working week.

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