ASIC scrutinising financial calculator relief

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is monitoring companies that are providing personal advice under a general advice ruling to avoid documentation such as statements of advice, according to Map My Plan.

The firm’s advisory board member, Simon Micallef, said the use of financial calculators was possibly allowing firms to provide personal advice under the guise of general advice.

He said that while financial calculators captured clients’ personal information through retirement income calculators or life insurance calculators, ASIC provided relief for advisers if the information collected was used only for general calculation advice, and they avoided all advertising, promotions, or product advice linked to those calculations. This meant statements of advice (SOAs) did not need to be provided.

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Micallef had seen firms that had provided personal advice but had taken full relief because of the calculators they were using.

“They’re using calculators for the situation of purely using that for generic calculation information. They go on further to say in their FSGs [financial services guides], their SOAs, anywhere you look, there’s this statement in italics and they make it very clear,” Micallef said.

“They go on to say that our staff, directors, only provide general advice. We consider none of your personal circumstances, and as a result not going to issue an SOA.”

Micallef said ASIC was examining these general advice warnings.

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