Case study of TAL Risk Academy and Deakin University partnership


TAL has announced an education partnership with Deakin University that will allow financial advisers who complete three modules and assessment tasks through TAL Risk Academy to be credited for a unit in the Deakin University's postgraduate financial planning course. Niall McConville, TAL general Manager Retail Distribution, explained the detail of the program to Industry Moves.

What was behind your decision to approach Deakin University about this program? Or did Deakin approach you?

We have worked with Deakin University since 2019 including support resources for financial advisers to help with the Financial Adviser exam. We wanted to support financial advisers where we can with the FASEA education and degree requirements, so we saw this as a natural progression. We have been able to put together an education pathway that combines the use of learning resources through the TAL Risk Academy in partnership with Deakin University as the accredited education provider of a FASEA-approved postgraduate degree.

Why did you decide to do this now?

This is something we have been working on for a while. It has taken a while due to the need to align the course with Deakin's equivalent unit for Estate Planning and Risk Management. Deakin University are the accredited provider and assessor for our TAL Risk Academy unit.

What market research was involved?

We are supportive of financial advisers having a choice of providers to meet their education needs. We want as many financial advisers as possible to complete their degree requirements and are therefore looking at ways we can support advisers. This collaboration provides another option for advisers.

Do advisers need to complete all three modules through the TAL Risk Academy to receive one unit credit for the Estate Planning and Risk Management strategies unit?

The three modules fit in to one course through the TAL Risk Academy. It has been designed as one online curriculum, where all three modules and the assessment tasks can be completed. So once an adviser signs up, they can complete the requirements when it suits them and with maximum flexibility.

What are the TAL Risk Academy modules?

The course includes Advice and Best Practice, Personal Insurance and Risk Management and Estate Planning.

And how many total credits does an adviser need to complete the Deakin University postgrad course?

Deakin University has different course options to support financial advisers depending on existing experience and previous study. The Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning is 8 units which is the minimum postgraduate qualification required by advisers without a degree, but advisers may be entitled to credit for previous study and qualifications completed. Advisers may also be entitled to a number of credits for both study and informal learning in Deakin's 12 unit Master of Financial Planning course.

Do you think financial advisers currently get enough support to complete their education requirements?

The challenge financial advisers often have is the time commitment and costs involved. When you consider a full-time job and family commitments it can be difficult to also complete the study requirements. Our recommendation is to make sure the commitment is manageable and to plan it out starting with one unit. Universities like Deakin University offer a wide range of study and academic support services for students, which can be critical for advisers returning to study after a long break.

Will you be looking at expanding this program in any way?

We are very keen to further our partnership with Deakin University where we can and provide opportunities for both existing advisers but also how we can also promote new entrants into the profession. However, before proceeding into other programs, it is important to monitor and assess how this program will work to make sure we have the right support and academic integrity in place.

How much does it cost an adviser to complete the TAL Risk Academy modules?

The costs with this course are donated to the ABCN which helps underprivileged students. The initial cost is only $55 that is donated to the Australian Business Community Network, which helps talented young Australians from lower socio-economic backgrounds access quality education and reach their full potential. In addition, through the partnership, financial advisers get a 15 per cent discount on all their course fees through Deakin University.