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Financial reps struggling to pass FSB exams

Deadline extended; rumours in industry that thousands still failing.

PRETORIA – Financial representatives are struggling to pass the Financial Services Board’s (FSB) FAIS regulatory exam. Two weeks before the deadline for those who have written at least once, but failed (September 30), the FSB has announced that the deadline will be extended by another six months.

The extension comes after the FSB stated on numerous occasions that it will not be moving the deadline out again and that representatives would have to meet the deadline in order to remain active in the industry.

Some commentators have questioned what the inability of financial representatives to pass the exam says about the quality of representation in the industry, as the exams were an attempt to make sure that all representatives understand the FAIS Act and their regulatory role.

“As a responsible regulator the FSB is of the view that the extension of the deadline is appropriate after having considered all the facts. Research conducted by the FSB indicates that one of the reasons why candidates remain unsuccessful, despite several attempts, might be due to the application of incorrect examination techniques. In order to further assist these candidates, the FSB, in conjunction with other stakeholders, will conduct workshops, the details of which will be communicated shortly,” the FSB said in a statement.

It is not clear how many representatives fall into this category that will now have an extended deadline as the FSB has not yet released the final statistics after the June 30 deadline, almost three months later.

On July 20 this year the FSB told Moneyweb that the statistics on how many key individuals and representatives have written and passed was were being finalised and would be “published as soon as is practicable”. Almost two months later the FSB responded to renewed queries from Moneyweb on the statistics, saying that it will be released no later than September 30.

One stakeholder who wishes to remain anonymous has commented that the rumour in the industry is that thousands of representatives didn’t pass and are struggling to pass the second time around.

The last statistics that were released by the FSB at the beginning of June showed that only 35 646 representatives of the 51 790 that have written the exam at that time passed. This means that 11 045 had still not written the exam at that time and had only until the end of the month to do so, and that 16144 who had written, but failed, had until the September 30 deadline to rewrite. The total of these two components, 27 189, represents almost half of all the candidates who had to meet the deadline.

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