Changes to the financial advice regulatory regime
You should be aware that new legislation affecting financial advisers comes into effect in early 2021. As part of the changes, the Government is removing the three current adviser types – Registered Financial Adviser (RFA), Authorised Financial Adviser (AFA) and QFE adviser – and all advisers will need to meet the same standards.
The new legislation includes a new Code of Professional Conduct for Financial Advice Services which specifies new minimum competency requirements.
The new legislation also has a competency safe harbour for those who already hold, or are undertaking the Level 5 qualification (for AFAs). This provision will help to ensure that qualification holders or current learners are not disadvantaged as a result of the new legislation.
For Individuals seeking to complete the Level 5, version 1 qualification (for AFAs)
The current Code of Professional Conduct for Authorised Financial Advisers, remains in place until the start of the new financial advice regime in early 2021.
It states that the New Zealand Certificate in Financial Services (Level 5) version 1, is the minimum competency standard required for people seeking AFA authorisation. The qualification contains a number of optional strands in specialised areas, and the Code specifies which strands are required for particular classes of authorisation. Although the Code specifies competence alternatives for some of the parts of the qualification, for most people who want to become an Authorised Financial Adviser before the start of the new financial advice regime in early 2021, the Level 5 certificate is a compulsory requirement.
The qualification is delivered to individuals by a small number of authorised training providers, and we encourage those who are planning to become authorised before the start of the new financial advice regime to contact them.
The Financial Advice strand of Version 1 of the qualification can only be assessed through the Skills centrally administered assessment process. This includes a one hour multi-choice exam to demonstrate understanding of the legislative framework and the submission of a portfolio of evidence demonstrating professional advice process and application of legislative responsibilities.
It is important that candidates are aware of the very particular marking criteria which are used for the exam and the portfolio assessment. More information on these criteria can be found in our Financial Advice Strand Assessment Document.
It is also important to note that any training providers that offer a completion subsidy or rebate to students who complete their course within a designated timeframe are operating under their own commercial capacity regarding any subsidy or rebate offer. This is an arrangement made between the training provider and the student directly. For the avoidance of doubt, Skills does not endorse nor is part of any such arrangement. The training providers that are Delegated Assessment Organisations can provide assessment services relating to the portfolio of evidence, but their outcomes are quality assured and reported to NZQA by Skills.
My Skills Portal
Before you can book an exam or a portfolio assessment you MUST create a Financial Services Candidate account on the My Skills portal. To register, just click the red button below and follow the prompts on your screen. Your MySkills account also creates the facility whereby Skills reports successful completion of ALL results in the New Zealand Certificate in Financial Services to the Financial Markets Authority.
For Individuals seeking to complete the Level 5, version 2 qualification
(for the new regime)
The New Zealand Certificate in Financial Services (Level 5) was updated in January 2019, and version 2 is now registered on the NZ Qualifications Framework.
This version of the certificate is referenced in the new Code of Professional Conduct for Financial Advice Services, as providing outcomes equivalent to the standard of general and particular competence, knowledge, and skill required of Financial Advisers in the new regime.
Completing the New Zealand Certificate in Financial Services (Level 5) will provide certainty that an Individuals’ competency is at the required level.
The qualification is delivered to individuals by a small number of authorised training providers, and we encourage those who are planning to offer financial advice in the new regime, to contact them.
For those seeking an alternative pathway to meeting the competency requirements of the new regime
The new Code of Professional Conduct for Financial Advice Services which comes into effect from early 2021, includes references to using alternative qualifications and experience to demonstrate competency at the level required.