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Ara launches adviser degree - but is there demand?

Tertiary institute Ara is hoping it is well-positioned to take advantage of looming changes to financial advisers’ qualification requirements.

Thursday, September 1st 2016, 6:00AM 1 Comment

by Susan Edmunds

The institute was formed through a merger of CPIT and Aoraki Polytechnic.

It this year launched a graduate diploma and degree major in personal financial planning.

The specialisation is part of the broader degree in applied business management.

The graduate diploma is offered as a mix of online, classroom and one-on-one learning.

A spokeswoman said there were seven or eight students on the diploma course this year.

Acting head of the business department, Nicky Hodges, said there could be more demand for the courses once the Financial Advisers Act review is complete.

“MBIE has completed its review of the Financial Advisers Act and provided several recommendations. However, the amendment draft has not been published yet, so nobody is really sure what changes will eventuate,” she said.

“Assuming most of the recommendations are actioned, then, yes, we would expect increased interest in tertiary qualifications in personal financial planning, as more professionals within the industry will be required to meet competencies standards. That being said, what those minimum competency standards will be is unknown at this stage. It is possible they will remain as they currently are, a level five certificate, or they could be raised to a higher level in an attempt to further professionalise the industry.”

The Ara spokeswoman said it was expected that financial advisers who were working and had experience in the industry might go through Ara’s Centre for Assessment of Prior Learning to have that knowledge credited towards an academic qualification.

“They may still need to do some papers, it depends on their experience.”

Students are credited for courses when they can provide sufficient verified evidence that they meet the learning outcomes of those respective courses.

The outcomes have been mapped against international Financial Planning Standards Board competency requirements.

Massey University has also been working on plans for a degree but put them on hold through the Financial Advisers Act review.

Director of academic programmes Claire Matthews said she was unsure there was demand. “The question about demand is greater, given Ara’s location.”

The spokeswoman said it was too soon yet to make an assessment of demand for the degree option.

Students can only elect to take the specialisation in their second year – so next year will be the first time the new cohort of students reach that stage of their degree.

Tags: qualifications

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On 1 September 2016 at 3:38 pm AFA Muggins said:
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