What was your first role in learning?
In a month’s time, it will be 19 years for me at ASFA! During this time I’ve had a lot of different roles but I was originally appointed as a technical trainer. Financial Services Reform had just been enacted and everyone needed that piece of paper saying they were 146 compliant. In those days it was known as PS 146 compliance (Policy Statement 146) which became RG 146. For my first few years at ASFA I travelled around the country teaching people about 146. And prior to this I worked for a fund called Mercantile Mutual (which became ING), before moving to ASFA in 2002.
What do you like most about your role and how has industry training changed?
I love that I get to talk to people for a living! And I’ve got to know so many great people across the industry who are passionate about making a difference to people’s retirement savings.
When it comes to training, it’s not one size fits all anymore. We’ve learnt to be flexible and listen to what our members are asking of us. A continued professional development (CDP) program in one organisation might look different to CPD in another organisation. Training today is more varied and customised than ever before.
What’s changed during COVID-19 in terms of training and learning?
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that we had to move everything to virtual and online training sessions. We’ve had a big uptake of our online programs because they are flexible and can be done anywhere/anytime. And people are of course doing these from home now.
We launched the Super Professional series which has been very popular. These are a group of short, sharp one-hour virtual workshops which address a different key topic around compliance that people need to be across, such as DDO and RG97.
But we are also seeing an increased uptake in RG 146 and Super Essentials enrolments—courses that provide a strong foundation of super knowledge—because funds need people on the ground that are knowledgeable and able to handle the growing level of enquiries from members about their superannuation.
How do people decide what CPD to do?
Everyone benefits from doing training in the super industry. RG 146, for example, not only provides compliance with the regulatory guide and enables you to provide general advice but also provides a comprehensive and holistic view of the super industry. We find a lot of organisations get their new starters to complete RG 146 so they can begin a new role with a certain level of knowledge. RG 146 also looks good on your resume and is well regarded by employers as it shows a benchmark level of knowledge. While there are other organisations that offer RG 146, ASFA’s course is specifically tailored for people working in the super industry.
For someone completely new to the industry then potentially the Super Essentials would be a good place to start. This is an online overview of superannuation, quick and easy to understand, and it was recently overhauled with more a streamlined structure, to be completed faster, with more targeted content.
And while there are a variety of courses people can do, SuperCPD is a great for keeping on top of everything happening in super. It’s perfect for anyone working in a helpline role or a contact centre and can be undertaken individually, although often funds register a large group. Written to be easily understood by anyone working in super, some of the content is provided by ASFA in-house, but we also utilise the services of industry professionals like the big consulting and legal firms.
Who would benefit most from SuperCPD?
SuperCPD is really for anyone who wants a relevant CPD tool, and we have several larger administration companies plus large and smaller funds that subscribe. It makes it easy for organisations to show that their staff are maintaining compliance should ASIC come knocking.
A quarterly subscription product, just like a magazine, SuperCPD has regular articles such as a CEO update from Martin Fahy, a regulatory update from ASFA Deputy CEO Glen McCrea or Policy Operations Director Julian Cabarrus, and economic updates from various economists including Andrew Craston Director of Economics from ASFA’s policy team. It then has a range of topical issues such as DDO, RG 97 reforms, trustee indemnity – anything that impacts the industry and would be useful for professionals working in super to have knowledge of. Quizzes and tests at the end of each article help to ensure that you understand all the information.
And what about superannuation trustees. What training is available for them?
SuperCPD Trustee is our new program launched in November that trustees can undertake. We realised that there was nothing in the market that catered for trustees maintaining their knowledge. From an APRA licencing perspective, trustees need to be ‘fit and proper’ so we designed the program to give trustees the knowledge needed to understand the requirements imposed upon them—and the liabilities imposed upon them—so that they can sleep at night. All the articles for SuperCPD Trustee are written from that perspective.
We’ve had some great feedback from funds. One member told us that she’d previously found it very difficult to get her board to do any training and keep track of it. With SuperCPD Trustee she can now run reports and see how many hours they’ve done. Trustees would understandably want to be across everything as ultimately they are liable for what’s going on in the fund.
Also, SuperCPD Trustee is important because some board members are brought in from outside of super. Directors may be appointed because of their specialist area of knowledge, so they could be an insurance or a marketing person that makes up the fitness and propriety of the board. In other words, they may not have superannuation experience, so SuperCPD Trustee is a great way to become informed about the industry.
You can view all ASFA’s learning courses here.
To find out more about SuperCPD or tailoring training to suit your organisation, contact ASFA Learning.