Call for single planner regulatory regime

5 July 2019

There should be a single regulatory and oversight regime for financial advisers, according to the Financial Services Council (FSC).

The FSC has used a submission to Treasury’s review of the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) to argue for a simplification of the regulatory environment in circumstances where the so-called “Tax Financial Adviser’ (TFA) regime predicated the establishment of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) and other changes to the industry.

It said the Treasury review of the TPB therefore provided an important opportunity to align and streamline the two regulatory regimes applicable to financial advisers into a single regime for the benefit of financial advisers and consumers.

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In doing so the FSC echoed at least some of the views of both the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) and the SMSF Association which had both pointed to the problems and costs associated with regulatory overlap.

“We believe that a single regulatory regime, which incorporates TFA requirements into the FASEA regime, benefits consumers and advisers alike,” the FSC submission said. “It provides consumer clarity and confidence that they need only engage with the FASEA regime should they have any concerns in relation to professional conduct breaches (instead of dealing with two separate bodies for the same advice) and reduces the regulator overlap and cost inefficiencies that arises from having two very separate but overlapping regimes.”

“We recommend that the TFA requirements be incorporated into the FASEA regime. Further consultation can identify the best way to incorporate TFA requirements and establish an ongoing TPB and FASEA engagement framework,” it said.

The FSC submission said the rationale for consolidating TFA requirements into the FASEA regime was further supported by the consideration that all financial advisers are subject to the FASEA regime but not all financial advisers are TFAs.

“As such, it makes sense to consolidate the TFA regime into FASEA such that the requirements apply to all advisers,” it said.

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I like the concept. But I am also concerned FASEA is not well managed.

I would suggest the TPB are a more reputable and competent body to be appointed as the regulator for any proposed single planner regulatory regime. One only has to look at the number of delays and failures with FASEA to date to come to this conclusion.

ASIC, AFCA, TPB, FASEA, Austrac, and the soon to be introduced code monitoring body. That is way too many regulators. The end result is greater complexity and cost for consumers. The easiest first step to simplify this mess of excessive red tape and over regulation is to abolish the agency that serves no useful purpose whatsoever... the TPB.

The number of regulators also presents an opportunity for a future labor government, hopefully YEARS away, to wipe the table clean and reset the environment with an ISN compliant and stacked overlord. Shorten had already hinted a such a stance pre-election with a revised ASIC.

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