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Reflecting the wider move toward professionalisation in the financial services industry, the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA) has launched its first internationally-recognised professional qualification in banking.

The Professional Banking Fundamentals, which would be an entry point into the Chartered Banker pathway, would have a strong emphasis on ethics and integrity.

While FINSIA had announced its plans to introduce professional banking qualifications in May last year as part of its professionalisation strategy, the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry had reinforced the need to do so quickly.

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“The announcement of the Royal Commission early this year has revealed the urgent need to raise professionalism and standards across the Australian banking industry, the bedrock solution to the industry’s structural weaknesses,” FINSEA chief executive, Chris Whitehead, said.

As Australia had no industry-wide requirement for relevant professional qualifications in banking, FINSIA was working with the UK-based Chartered Banker Institute to adopt the internationally-recognised Chartered Banking qualifications for the Australian market.

FINSIA also proposed the establishment of a Professional Banking Council as part of its attempts to address the trust deficit suffered by financial services currently and build professionalism.

The Institute said the council would define appropriate standards of competence and conduct for the industry, which would be underpinned by the Banking and Finance Oath project.

FINSIA had partnered with the project and was consulting key stakeholders, such as the Australian Banking Association, Customer-Owned Banking Association, financial regulators, banks and the Finance Sector Union.

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