Association of Financial Advisers general manager of policy and professionalism Phil Anderson has labelled the 600 advisers sitting the first exam as "brave", fearing they are underprepared.
Anderson believes the advisers taking the exam in the first round are likely to be confident in their abilities, but haven't been given adequate time to study. They are due to sit the assessment at the end of the month.
"I'm aware of a few people who are sitting the exam. What I think is the confident and really good advisers are the one's saying 'I'm going to have a crack at it'," Anderson said.
"People are doing it without adequate chance to prepare. But, if they don't pass this time, they will have at least six months to prepare to take it again."
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The exam, which will cost advisers $594 each time they sit it, is part of a broader curriculum that involves subjects advisers aren't yet able to do because the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) hasn't approved courses.
"The curriculum includes the code of ethics and code monitoring subject, no one can do that because they're not available yet," Anderson explained.
"So the people sitting the exam this month are doing it just based upon having read the code of ethics and the explanatory statement on that. They've also got the legal obligations course, those aren't available either.... So the people doing the exam are doing it on faith."
The AFA has been seeking an extension on the exam deadline since it was first proposed, arguing that advisers have many commitments to juggle so cannot do two subjects a semester and need room for flexibility.
Speaking at the association's national roadshow in Sydney, Anderson urged advisers to speak to their local members and let them know how the regulatory changes are impacting advice businesses and advisers.
"All of this is crammed into this ridiculously short period of time," Anderson said of the regulatory changes.
Now that approximately 600 advisers have signed up to do the exam, Anderson is keen to get their feedback on FASEA's questions and provide that information to AFA members.
"We sent a note out to members yesterday, asking them to tell us if they're sitting the exam and we'll set up a tele-conference and gather feedback so that we can relay that information to members," he said.