The FASEA exam is a key part of the professional standards uplift for financial advisers. Here’s a rundown of the exam basics – and some study tips to help you sail through on the day.

The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) exam forms part of the new education, training and ethical standards for financial advice that took effect on 1 January 2019.

As it currently stands, existing advisers need to complete this exam by 1 January 2021, while new entrants need to pass it before starting quarter three of their professional year. In August 2019, the goverment proposed extending the deadline to 1 January 2022 for existing advisers.

If you’re an existing adviser and you don’t complete the exam by the deadline, your existing experience won’t be recognised – and you’ll no longer be authorised to provide advice.

So what do we know about the exam so far – and what should you do to prepare?

Understanding the basics

The first FASEA exam was in June 2019, with registrations for the September exam opening between 12-30 August. The following exam will be held in December 2019, then every two months, starting in February 2020.

Exams are conducted online, in venues in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, Townsville, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin and Hobart. Advisers who can’t get to any of these venues can apply to sit the exam remotely1.

The content of the three-and-a-half-hour exam includes multiple choice and written responses. It covers:

  • regulatory and legal obligations of financial advice 
  • applied ethical and professional reasoning and communication
  • construction of financial advice.

The exam will be practical and include case studies that test advisers’ knowledge and experience, and application of legislation. It’s an open book exam, which means candidates can refer to electronic copies of relevant statutory material, such as sections from the Corporations Act2.

Advisers are only required to sit the exam once – in other words, there’s no need to sit it each year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it again if you’re not successful the first time around. However, if you do fail, you’ll need to do the entire exam again – not just the sections you didn’t pass. Plus, you’ll need to wait three months before you can sit the exam again, which could impact your ability to practise while you wait3.

Hitting the books

So you’ve got your head around the requirements – and you’ve registered for the exam. Now it’s time to make sure that your hands-on experience will translate to exam success.

If it’s been a while since you’ve studied, it’s a good idea to prepare, refreshing your knowledge, and familiarising yourself with exam techniques that can help take the stress out of the exam. So create a study plan, and set aside a dedicated time in your diary each week.

Switch off your phone, avoid emails and social media, and focus on studying. Where you can, try to vary your study materials to help you stay engaged with the content. For example, try listening to recorded talks, or do exam practice questions rather than just reading and taking notes.

Don’t forget, there is power in numbers – so starting a study group among your peers or colleagues is another great strategy to get exam-ready. Studying with others can motivate you – and you can also help each other, by explaining or checking concepts, and gaining or offering a fresh perspective on a topic.

Finally, make sure you check the FASEA website’s comprehensive section on the exam, including practice questions, FAQs and a video to explain what you’ll need to know on the day. There are also online and face-to-face FASEA exam preparation courses available if you think you’ll need some extra support4.


Ready for the big day

As you approach exam day, make sure you’re well prepared. Clear your diary so you have time to revise the day before.

Make sure you know exactly where the exam venue is – and leave plenty of time to get there early. And, importantly, don’t forget to print out a copy of your exam ticket – electronic tickets won’t be accepted.


Need more help?

The FPA has helpful resources for members on its new Return to Learn education hub - simply log in to your member page. You can also check out the FASEA FAQs.

If you’re a Count Member, view the Industry Exam FAQs and enrolment instructions on the Professional Standards page of MyCount.


1. Professional Planner, Associations unite over FASEA exam deadline extension, May 22, 2019

2. Independent Financial Adviser, New Details Of FASEA Exam Revealed, 2019

3. FASEA website, 2019

4. FASEA website, FAQs, 2019



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