Significant changes to RE Exam

24 January 2018 Myra Knoesen

We recently came across an article by Dr Des Leatt an Education Consultant, on the revised and updated Fit and Proper Requirements from the Registrar of the FSB with the publication of Board Notice 194 of 2017 on 15 December 2017, with variable implementation dates, which we thought would be interesting to share with you.

According to Dr Leatt, this draws to an end a period of nearly three years of public and corporate-wide consultation which our Regulator engaged in. 

A careful and thorough review

“Included in this review and consultative process was a careful and thorough review of the Qualifying Criteria (content requirements) upon which our Regulatory Exams for key Individuals (RE1) and Representatives (RE5) are based,” said Dr Leatt. 

“I have been very close to this process since the launch of these Regulatory exams in 2010 and I must say that the review process has now provided us with a more in-depth but less repetitive set of Qualifying Criteria. There are still 16 Tasks or sections for the RE1 exam and 8 for the RE5 exam – while approximately 50-60% of the Qualifying Criteria have remained much the same they will need updating based upon these latest Fit and Proper requirements. That said, there are a significant number of new Qualifying Criteria and of course the updated FICA legislation is now incorporated, where applicable,” commented Dr Leatt. 

Important dates to be aware of

According to Dr Leatt, the following dates which you need to be made aware of: 

  • The revised and updated Qualifying Criteria upon which the Regulatory Exams are based, come in effect 1 April 2018. Put simply this means that I will be working around the clock to ensure that fully updated and revised, credible RE1 and RE5 study material and practice MCQ questions will be available as from 1 April 2018 to cover the new requirements.
  • With effect from 1 April 2018, it is no longer required that a key individual write and complete BOTH the RE1 and the RE5 Exams. I have long argued that it was repetitive for key individuals to write and pass both the RE1 and RE5 exams – so I heartily endorse this move.
  • A key element of the above Fit and Proper review was to establish credible product training (previously called, Second Level Regulatory Examinations), now referred to as Class of Business Training and Product Specific Training, and this is a key element of the revised Fit and Proper requirements.
  • Likewise, the finalisation of the FSBs requirements w.r.t Continuous Professional Development (CPD), is very important. 

Preparing for changes

All in all, Dr Leatt believes the revision of Fit and Proper requirements has led to important changes to the Regulatory Exam requirements and therefore, of course the Regulatory Exams, the study material and bank of MCQ questions. 

“The above changes are a significant and an important step in our regulatory framework. I am currently undertaking a gap analysis of the current and proposed new Qualifying Criteria and am quite certain that the “new” RE1 and RE5 content and resulting regulatory exams will be more difficult. That said, the revisions add much value to the work of the sector and prepare the ground for changes in our regulatory environment via the RDR and Twin Peaks and related developments which are around the corner,” continued Dr Leatt. 

“Common sense suggests that taking the exams before 1 April 2018 will be wise and I do recommend and encourage those who need to complete these exams to do so sooner rather than later i.e. before 1 April 2018,” advised Dr Leatt.
Those needing to write should do so sooner than later as any re-writes will also have to be done before 1 April 2018, so time is of the essence. 

Editor’s Thoughts:
When the FSB made the announcements that it would be moving towards a fit and proper principles approach, there were a lot of questions. However, as Dr Leatt pointed out, the changes are a significant and an important step in our regulatory framework. One that will ensure key individuals and representatives comply and continue to comply with industry regulation. Do you agree? If you have any questions please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online or email me -


Added by George Landsberg, 14 Jun 2021
Join Masters of RE 5 *boot camp . Today and #passRE5

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Added by Hazel , 07 May 2021
I'm going to write my RE5, anytime soon. I share the same opinions of my colleagues. Why is Moonstone the only place to write? Why is this paper so difficult amidst us studying. We are doing this under stress circumstances. We have to write business and still study. Something has to be done to assist the many that are going to write. Our livelihood is also affected, because if we fail, we have to rewrite in order to secure of jobs. Please help.
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Added by Modisana Mongwai, 02 Apr 2021
Had my 4th attempt of the re5 on the 31march got my result yesterday 64% now I ask myself remark or not ... If indeed it is impossible for the mark to change , or history and systems show it will never in any case change. 0% chance. This would be daylight Robinson thats my personal view. It's like giving a fisherman money to go have a look in the sea for mermaid. Knowing fully well the outcome. It's wrong to take money knowing nothing will change. Why don't they show where you went wrong. Transparency is lacking big time.
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Added by Eleanor Moshidi, 07 Jul 2020
I wrote RE1 3 time paying with my UIF money choosing to let my children go hungry coz we all decided it was worth the sacrifice n I read I know my material well even but Moonstone exam are set in such way that margins for failure are greater than you passing...
After my 3rd attempt scored 62% I want to go to fsca or somewhere to appeal this it's not like they ever give any support except a pencil I feel they messing with our livelihoods
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Added by Thembekile Mlambo, 10 Jun 2020
Hy guys ; m a bit confused. Ive been studying the RE5 2018 study guide and was told its outdated. Where can i get a new updated study guide?
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Added by Thembekile Mlambo, 10 Jun 2020
Hy guys ; m a bit confused. Ive been studying the RE5 2018 study guide and was told its outdated. Where can i get a new updated study guide?
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Added by Nobuhle Mvelase , 24 Sep 2019
Wrote my RE5 for the first time in July 2019,passed it with 72%,RE5 is not difficult if you well prepared, so I urge people to be well prepared before entering that exam room,
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Added by Keno , 15 Aug 2019
Is it true that RE is no longer a requirement in banks?
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Added by Matsheba, 15 Aug 2019
I feel cheated by moonstone. Why are they charging us for remark while they don't show us the memo and questions after the results. You mst show me where I went wrong, so that I can fix. Don't just tell me that I have failed. This people are cheating us, knowing very well that we won't claim remark cause is another money out of pocket.
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Added by Sandile Ngubane , 28 Jul 2019
.....and again this year I nailed my RE1 just like that, I wrote it once just like RE5. Now I am a facilitator just helping my colleagues where Im working so I can say therecis nothing wrong with moonstone and they have listened to us and allow to us a pencil. So my advice to all of you guys is that... and study hard...dont prepare using only mock questions...find a material..or legislation handbook itself!
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Added by Michael, 03 May 2019
I hate to disagree with most people, at most,those that are disgruntled by Moonstone, The institution does not set the exam paper nor affiliated to the FSB or more recently the FSCA. The content of the exam have been the same through out and the ACTS and BOARD NOTICES to be studied for the exam in both the KI and Representative exams made available to the public. The fact that students write the exam based on the “expected magic fix” from Moonstone is no excuse for such ignorance. The questioning structure will vary between the exam and that of Moonstone and there is nothing wrong with that. STUDY THE ACTS AND BOARD NOTICES FOR A BETTER UNDERSTANDING THAN ATTEMPT TO MEMORIZE THE QUESTIONING STRUCTURE, that way,students are better prepared to answer questions no matter the questioning structure

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Added by Lebohang , 30 Apr 2019
Hello everyone, which institution that offers exam except moonstone?
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Added by Nobuhle Mvelase, 29 Apr 2019
Guys, I'm writing RE5 for the second time, I'm using the Bank/seta material, is it worth it? Where can I get other easier to understand material?
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Added by Dianne, 07 Dec 2018
I have recently wrote and failed my RE5 through Moonstone... This is due to the fact that Moonstone specifically refers you as a student to INSETA study material. The INSETA study material was recently revoked due to inaccuracy... This was not communicated to us as students and thus we wrote the RE5 Exam on inaccurate studies being done... I know have to pay for new study material and pay to write the exam again... This is serious negligence! I am also very dissatisfied with the fact that the exam uses very different terminology than the study material they refer you to, for instance the study material will refer to the Registrar and the Exam will refer to the Commissioner, how are we supposed to know this is the same person if there is no mention in the preparation guides or study material that there might be a different term for this role... Luckily I picked up on it as I have 4 years experience in the industry and was well prepared for my exam... Or so I thought... I personally feel that Moonstone do not test you on knowledge and skills but go out to trick and catch you to let you pay and write over and over again... They are supposed to test your knowledge of the study material and if you have the skills to implement your knowledge in reality, but this is not the case... They give you a statement the wrong way around with the incorrect terminology and expect of you to know the correct answer... How are we supposed to write an exam with terminology and statement that differ from our study material? Then we might as well not have study material and play a guessing game in the exam and hope we pass it like that... I don't have the faith that the people who do pass the exam is competent, not because they don't know the industry or the study material but because they were lucky enough to guess the correct answers or get the easier exam, since Moonstone gives a different exam to every candidate and some are a lot easier than others, which is not fair!!! I also don't agree with the pencil principle as it is easy for the people handling it afterward to change your paper and you will never know because you never have access to your paper again... Then there is a computer marking your paper that mark according to indents on the paper, meaning if you marked the wrong answer erased it and then mark the right answer it will still be marked as wrong because the computer sees two indents for one question, and they don't have the competency to let a person do the remark, they let the same computer remark the paper if it is requested and then ask money for the remark that they know will come back with the same mark you got before... This is a highly unfair and risky procedure and this qualification is one you need if you want to go anywhere in this industry... If someone can please provide feedback in these concerns with solutions to the problems and implement those solutions, it will be highly appreciated.
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Added by Sandile Ngubane , 28 Nov 2018
Hi, well I have nailed my RE 5 with my only single attempt and I got 78%, but I won't lie I do have a question why we only use pencil when writing the exams because if the reason is to ensure that if you have made a mistake you easily erase it off and choose another one. That reasoning is not good enough because there are lot of exams with multiple choice questions that we write in ink pens. Are those exams not that serious or what?
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Added by Heleen Fraser, 30 Oct 2018

what is the cost of the RE5 i wrote it once but woulld like to wrote it again .

kind regards
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Added by Concerned observer, 09 Oct 2018
I am concerned that there is only one provider currently that one can white the exam through. I obtained my RE5 in 2010 but my staff have failed on numerous occasions always with the same feedback. The exam questions are set in such a way as to catch you out, not testing understanding or knowledge. Numerous double negative questioning that confuses even the most intelligent candidates. The other problems I have is that the exam gets completed in pencil as well as your name which you need to fill in on the answer pencil. The question sheet and answer sheet do not get attached to one another when handing in the paper and you never make reference on the answer sheet of what exam paper you actually wrote. You may never see your answer sheet or question paper again and when you ask for a remark they tell you it's not worth your while as the same computer remarks your paper that marked it the first time. I also got told that the computer looks for indents in the page to correctly mark the point so should you have changed your answer mid way seeing as though you write in pencil it would see two indents which would then mark the question wrong. A human is not marking these papers not first or second time but I am sure a human is setting the machine to know what exam has been written. So what if that human lost the exam that was intended to be attached to the answer sheet as they are not being attached to one another or what if the examination drops all the papers and gets them muddled..... then what we have to trust a system that teaches us to treat customers fairly and with honesty and integrity and we feel cheated by our own system. The reason I know that on a given exam day different papers are being written is because after the exam the staff talk and no one gets the same paper. So I ask you if we see there is no proper record keeping procedure as we are taught and papers are just being placed one ontop of the next what else are we supposed to think other than this system is corrupt. The staff are getting to a point that they don't know what they actually did do correctly and what not. Cause unnecessary self doubt in people that are working with other people's money and assets. This needs to be investigated thoroughly and feedback needs to be given to individuals that have spent their hard earned money to write an exam that's intent is to confuse and install fear. Our industry is in diar straights as we are losing great people due to this false excuse of an exam.
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Added by Afrodiet Mabveni, 12 Sep 2018
I agree wtih Dr Liz. Moonstone needs to be investigated. Their line of questioning is not fair at all. Some people have gone there more than 5 times and paying 1200 rands per sitting. It feels as if this is a money making scheme. Considering they are the only ones setting the exams. How much money are they making out of people who are failing and are forced to come back because they want to keep their jobs. They must test us on our knowledge not using tricky questions. We have been writing examinations on different subjects and the exam are always there to test knowledge not tricks. Right now I know that book from top to bottom but I have been there twice and failing because of those tricky questions. My job depends on this. Why MOONSTONE ONLY!!!!!!!!
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Added by Dr Liz Lear, 30 Aug 2018
Something is wrong with Moonstone RE5 MCQ exams.

Our staff are extremely well prepared to write. I am an ex-lecturer at UCT and been in financial services for over 20 years. One staff member passed with flying colours without a lot of preparation whilst the other (already with a University degree) keeps bombing at exactly the same mark each time - 4 questions off. He is extremely diligent and knows his stuff. One of the reasons may be that he is unlucky in getting very difficult papers. It seems some of the papers are easy, others very not - ie no standardisation of degree of difficulty. In addition, some of the questions have no bearing on the course material and I couldn't even begin to guess what the right answers would be. The idea of any exam is to test knowledge and application, not to trick people who know their work. As people's livehoods depend on passing, I think the Moonstone format needs to be investigated as the pass rate is currently abysmal. This alone should be investigated. If I cannot work out what a question is asking, how is somebody who does not have English as a 1st language be expected to cope?

What is happening at Moonstone is not right or fair and something needs to be done.
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Added by Bongani Mkhuzangwe, 31 Jul 2018
I would like to know as part of the FIt & Proper requirements what would be ideal for us as Representatives to do as the RE5 new Exam is very difficult I have written 4 times in a space of 5 months but the results are the same I got the /Bank Seta Material and the Board Notice 194 of 2017 - I know changes are staring from the 1 Aug 2018 what will happen to those who did not make but still trying to re-write the RE 5? - as our jobs are at stake
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Added by Keam, 28 Jun 2018

Is it possible for you to actually forward me a list of the new FAIS terminology e.g.

FSB is now FSCA

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Added by Dilano Eastraceeastrav, 14 May 2018
I would like to know if just the fit and proper information will be the difference in the new material released ?
Thank you
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Added by Wiehann, 24 Jan 2018
Dear Editor, thank you very much for keeping us informed towards the critical Fit and Proper matters. This is indeed relevant, especially in the context of industry newcomers that plays a pivotal role in the intermediaries' space and individuals / the country's savings imperative.

Dr Leatt's comment "The above changes are a significant and an important step in our regulatory framework. I am currently undertaking a gap analysis of the current and proposed new Qualifying Criteria and am quite certain that the “new” RE1 and RE5 content and resulting regulatory exams will be more difficult..." indeed has far reaching implications.
a) The way recruitment and selection are conducted will have to change. The high humanitarian and monetary cost of contracted intermediaries' who do not pass RE5 after many sittings within the allowed period is not acceptable. Ours is a complex task where newcomers are appointed before reaching RE qualification; different from many other professions where registration / qualification is required before a supervisory period takes off.
b) It is important that Dr Leatt and your publication follow soonest in terms of the gap-analysis...old vs. new RE5. This may guide us within the selection field to set selection "cut-off" criteria accordingly.

I am looking forward to your further publications in this regard.
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