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10. I want to become a Para-planner. What are the minimum training requirements I need?

Paraplanners assist Financial Planners / Advisers in the preparation of financial planning strategies, as well as the construction of Statements of Advice (SoA).  ASIC states in RG146:

“RG 146.27 Where para-planners and trainee advisers are used in relation to the provision of financial product advice, we consider that the licensee must have compliance measures in place designed to ensure that a person who satisfies the training standards plays a material role in the provision of the advice, as described in RG 146.26. These measures must include an effective means of monitoring what para-planners and trainee advisers say to retail clients. Further, while para-planners and trainee advisers do not have to comply with the training standards, licensees must ensure that their para-planners and trainee advisers have the necessary competence to perform their functions: see s912A(1)(f).“

Therefore, most organisations (if not all) require Paraplanners to have, as a minimum, the FNS50615 Diploma of Financial Financial Planning. We then suggest Paraplanners undertake the FNS60415 Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning with IIT, as the last subject focuses fully on Construction of Advice, which a Paraplanner must know to undertake this role. This then allows Paraplanners to progress into the Masters of Applied Finance (Financial Planning) with the first two elective subjects through IIT and the remaining 8 (instead of 12) through CSU. IIT is the only RTO to have this articulation agreement with CSU.

03. What is Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) simply involves an individual assessment of your KNOWLEDGE and SKILLS based on your previous qualifications/courses and knowledge and experience. Knowledge and skills can be demonstrated (and assessed) by THREE main methods: RPL by Recognition of Qualification / Statement of Attainment .This method is to be used if you have completed a similar course to those offered by IIT and also meet the required competencies of our courses. In some cases this is deemed as a credit transfer, if the units of competency you have achieved previously via a different course, are exactly the same as the units of competency required for the qualification or course you are applying for.

  • If you have completed a course that has similar content and leaning outcomes to those offered by IIT
  • If you have completed a course that covers the same competencies (under the Australian Training Framework, AQTF) to those offered by IIT; and
  • The course is listed on the ASIC training register for the RG146 qualifications, such as FNS50615 Diploma of Financial Planning, SMSF, Margin Lending and Foreign Exchange units of competency

This method requires you to supply certified copies of academic transcripts and if a non AQTF course, learning outcomes and outline of the course need to be supplied. If your course is not listed on the ASIC Register you maybe eligible to apply for RPL by Assessment instead. *Please note to apply for RPL by assessment or portfolio of evidence, further costs will be incurred. RPL by credit transfer with statements of attainment is free. Key evidence required for RPL assessment:

  • Copy of Statement of Attainment and/or relevant Qualification
  • Certificate of Completion for non-award training courses
  •  Print out relating to the training undertaken from the ASIC training register showing full details of course as it appears on the register (www.asic.gov.au)

In terms of the FNS50615 Diploma of Financial Planning or any other RG146 course, where the training being submitted as evidence was completed before 1995, we require evidence that ongoing continuing professional development and training has been undertaken to maintain the currency of knowledge and skills. Depending on the year training was completed, further assessments will usually be required if the previous qualification was deemed too outdated, due to legislative and training package updates. Full RPL outcomes are emailed to students, once an RPL assessment has been performed by IITs compliance assessors. Total fees and course information are included in the RPL outcome.

02. What are the benefits of the Face to Face Workshop Programs?

Face to face workshops enable you to complete your chosen course(s) under the guidance  and tutorship of our highly experienced facilitators.  The benefits of attending tutorial workshops are that students are able to network with other students and gain a lot of knowledge from asking questions, classroom discussion groups and assistance with assessments tasks as you go through each chapter. We have recently added our workshop lectures to our e-learning portals, so that students who cannot attend all days of a workshop program or who prefer spreading out the workshop days over several months, can still learn and gain a greater understanding of the modules prior to attending the workshop for that module.

International Institute of Technology (IIT) has been teaching financial planning courses since 2003, with many of our students articulating into University from our FNS60415 Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning and many students gaining employment with the big four banks, and many other large dealer groups and companies, such as AMP and many other small and large companies and Dealergroups. Workshops allow learning to be fun and assessment tasks to be explained step by step under the careful instruction of one of our expert Facilitators, who are industry professionals with ‘real world’ experience and who take the time to tell the ‘war stories’ which help explain the concepts.  Workshops allow students to learn in an environment with other students who are from diverse backgrounds, some having little knowledge and some having many years experience in the finance industry. The support of the facilitators as well as other students, allows students to feel part of the IIT student network. Resources used in workshops, such as Powerpoints, white board examples, class discussion, excel instruction are all part of the face to face experience and tutorship. Face to face tutorial workshops also allow students to ‘bounce ideas around’ with other participants. IIT conduct workshops in most states of Australia. CORPORATE in-house training is our speciality! Many companies and dealer groups, organise in-house training for their advisors and staff with IIT, so that we can work around your busy timeframe. IIT have public training venues that are in the CBD of each capital city. Classes are run regularly for the RG146 Diploma of Financial Planning (FNS50615) and several times a year for the Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning (FNS60415) and Certificate IV in Finance and Mortgage Broking (FNS40815), Diploma of Finance and Mortgage Broking Management (FNS50315) and RG146 compliant SMSF, Margin Lending and Foreign Exchange courses.  Please check our schedules for each state and course availability or ask about our in-house training option in your workplace.

01. How does Distance Education/Online study work?

Distance Education is sometimes referred to as self-paced learning or online learning.

Distance Education is ideal if you can’t take the time off work, have family commitments, or just prefer to learn at your own pace. Distance Education/online learning only works if you have a disciplined approach to completing the assessments required to complete the course(s) you have enrolled in.  If you feel you need more structure or learn better in a classroom environment then our intensive workshops are probably a more suitable option.

With the Distance Education option, you have continual access to our dedicated team of Distance Education Facilitators to help you with any queries you might have.  You can contact out team by phone or email.  IIT’s Distance Education policy means you will have a response to your query within 24 hours.

The time taken to complete a course by distance education course varies according to the individual.  You should set aside approximately 60 to 150 hours per course, depending on your level of financial services experience.

All our lectures from our face to face workshop program in Financial Planning, SMSF and Mortgage Broking are available in our students e-learning portals, which allows students the opportunity to view the Powerpoints and lecture for that module/course and gain greater understanding and concepts from these courses, than just trying to use the course material provided to learn and undertake the course they are enrolled in. Bookkeeping, Accounting and our Management courses will have lectures available in 2018.

At any stage you can elect to upgrade to an Intensive Workshop Program and simply pay the difference in the course price.

08. I want to specialise in a particular area. What training do I need?

As mentioned previously, Generic Knowledge is the FOUNDATION COURSE required by any individual seeking to provide general or personal advice in any Specialist Knowledge area.  At IIT, our courses are as follows:

GK = Generic Knowledge (first FOUR Modules of FPP)

FPP = Financial Planning in Practice

PRM = Principle of Risk Management

PIP = Principles of Investment Planning

PRS = Principle of Retirement and Superannuation

If you wish to specialize as a particular type of Financial Adviser then you need to undertake the following courses:

Courses Required Workshop Distance Education Courses Required Workshop Distance Education
Type of Adviser Personal Advice General Advice
Insurance Adviser FPP + PRM 4 Days YES GK + PRM 3 Days YES
Investment Adviser FPP + PIP 4 Days YES GK + PIP 3 Days YES
Superannuation Adviser FPP + PRS 4 Days YES GK + PRS 3 Days YES
Financial Planner / Adviser FPP + PIP + PRS + PRM (Full Diploma) 8 Days YES Must provide PERSONAL advice N/A YES

Depending on the type of advice you want to provide and the specialist knowledge area(s) you wish to provide advice in, the courses detailed in the table above will provide you with the required Unit of Competencies to meet the minimum training standards as set out by ASIC in RG146.

Units of Competency issued include:
•       ASIC Units of Competency
•       Prerequisite Units of Competency (for ASIC Units)
•       Industry Core Units of Competency
•       Sectoral Core Units of Competency
•       Elective Units of Competency

Please call our friendly team of Education Advisers if you want more details about the specific units of competency covered in each IIT course.

07. What training do I need to do if I want to move from providing General Advice to Personal Advice?

As you already provide general advice, you must have completed the Generic Knowledge requirements as set out under RG146 – that is, the first FOUR Modules of IIT’s Financial Planning in Practice.

Therefore, to provide personal advice you will simply have to complete the remaining modules of Financial Planning in Practice.   This can be done by attending an Intensive 1 day Workshop or by Distance (self-paced) Education.

06. What is the minimum training requirement if I ONLY want to provide PERSONAL ADVICE?

Personal advice is “financial product advice that is given or directed to a person (including by electronic means) in circumstances where:

•       the provider of the advice has considered one or more of the person’s objectives, financial situation and needs; or
•       a reasonable person might expect the provider to have considered one or more of those matters.

If you want to provide ‘personal advice’ to a retail client, you MUST complete Financial Planning in Practice – this course contains both Generic Knowledge and Financial Planning Skills.  ASIC has set out the skills required in Appendix B of RG146 and state:

RG 146.142 Advisers providing personal financial advice to retail clients should be able to apply appropriate skills in relation to their activities and the products and markets in which they operate.

05. What is the minimum training requirement if I ONLY want to provide GENERAL ADVICE?

General advice involves communicating with a retail client but at no time does the Financial Adviser take in to account the individual’s personal objectives, financial situation and needs.

The Adviser must make no recommendations in relation to a financial product’s suitability for a retail client, nor can the Adviser ‘select’ from a group of potential products which might be suitable for a particular client in relation to their personal needs, circumstances or objectives.

If you want to provide ‘general advice’ to a retail client then you MUST have undertaken or MUST undertake the following level of study:

General Advice Adviser = Generic Knowledge + at least one Specialist Knowledge Area

The SPECIALIST KNOWLEDGE areas are covered in Appendix A2 of RG146 issued by ASIC and include Financial Planning, Insurance, Superannuation, Securities, Managed Investments, Derivatives, Foreign Exchange, Deposit products and Non-Cash Payment products.

04. What is ‘GENERIC KNOWLEDGE’?

Generic Knowledge (GK) is the FOUNDATION COURSE required by any individual wanting to provide general or personal advice to a retail client.  GK covers the following topics:

The economic environment • characteristics and impact of economic and business cycles
• interest rates, exchange rates
• inflation
• government monetary and fiscal policies
Operation of financial markets • roles played by intermediaries and issuers
• structure and inter-relationships within the financial markets
• inter-relationship between industry sectors
Financial products • concept of a financial product—general definition, specific inclusions, exclusions
• types of financial investment products
• types of financial risk products (e.g. derivatives, risk insurance products)

Generic Knowledge content is covered in the first module of IIT’s course Financial Planning in Practice.

03. What is meant by ‘providing advice to retail clients’?

Financial Product Advice is “a recommendation or a statement of opinion, or a report of either of those things, that is intended to influence a person or persons in making a decision (buy, sell or hold) in relation to a particular financial product or class of financial products, or would reasonably be regarded as being intended to have such an influence.”

Advice provided to a retail client can be:

•       personal advice; or
•       general advice.

Personal advice is “financial product advice that is given or directed to a person (including by electronic means) in circumstances where:

•       the provider of the advice has considered one or more of the person’s objectives, financial situation and needs; or
•       a reasonable person might expect the provider to have considered one or more of those matters.

General advice is “financial product advice that is not personal advice”.  That is, it does NOT take in to account one or more of the person’s objectives, financial situation and needs.  General advice is typically communicated in documentation, seminar presentations, etc.

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