1. Compliance
  2. Authorised financial advisers
  3. Continuing professional development

Continuing professional development

AFAs must have the competence, knowledge and skills to provide financial adviser service, as outlined in the Code of Professional Conduct.

In summary if you are an AFA you should:

  • Identify for yourself the areas you need to focus on to improve your own competence, knowledge and skills in relation to your particular financial adviser services.
  • Ensure the training you do is structured professional development which maintains your competence at a level appropriate for the financial adviser services you provide or intend to provide.
  • Ensure the training helps you keep up to date with developments relevant to your particular practice.
  • Complete no less than 30 hours of structured professional development over the course of every two CPD periods.

In making these assessments, you should bear in mind:

  • A variety of subjects may qualify as CPD - provided always that the training is relevant to your needs.
  • The degree of difficulty that is acceptable can also vary, providing you are completing training relevant to your particular needs.

Your professional development

An AFA must maintain and keep current a professional development plan for each CPD period.

What counts as CPD?

In most cases, an AFA's first CPD period will start on 1 January in the year following the AFA's date of authorisation (see Schedule H of the Code). There is currently no pro-rating of CPD periods.

In line with the intent and spirit of the Code, you should not delay training identified as necessary or desirable if your CPD period has not yet begun.

To satisfy Code Standard 18, AFAs must complete no less than 30 hours of structured professional development over the course of every two CPD periods. (Note that the term 'credits' is not used in the Code).  You can interpret an hour of training usually to equate to an hour of CPD.

You should not include periods where no active learning is taking place e.g. lunch breaks at seminars would not count as part of your CPD hours.

Complete at least 30 hours CPD

It is important to note that 30 hours of structured professional development is a minimum requirement, irrespective of the range of financial adviser services provided. As a general guideline, the greater the range of services, the greater the likelihood that 30 hours will be insufficient for AFAs to continue to satisfy Code Standard 14.

What is structured professional development?

The Code defines structured professional development as "training that has identifiable aims and with outcomes relevant to the learning needs identified in the AFA's professional development plan, and:

a) is provided by a qualified educator or relevant subject matter expert; and

b) provides for interaction and feedback; and

c) participation is verifiable by documentation"

Structured professional development may include technical product training but excludes training provided for the principal purpose of promoting a particular financial product.

Additional training

The Code requires AFAs to undertake such additional training as necessary to:

  • Maintain competence at the appropriate level for the financial adviser services the AFA provides or intends to provide
  • Or to satisfy the AFA's professional development plan for that CPD period – whether in the form of structured professional development or some other form.

AFAs will need to be able to demonstrate they are satisfying their professional development plan, so it’s important to record all relevant professional development activities undertaken, whether in the form of structured professional development" or some other form.

Include professional development in your Adviser Business Statements (ABS)

As part of your ABS, it should be clear how you are meeting the Code requirements relating to competence, knowledge and skills including continuing professional development.

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