Will Hume act to delay code implementation?

Which is correct – the content of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) guidance around its code of ethics, or the information provided by FASEA executives during last week’s consultation process.

That is the question being asked by at least some advisers who have been surprised by suggestions by FASEA chief executive, Stephen Glenfield that the guidance document is capable of being changed but the code itself is not subject to change.

The questions are being asked at the same time as Money Management has received confirmation that the Assistant Minster for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology, Senator Jane Hume, has received a letter from adviser groups formally requesting a delay in implementation of code until key issues have been resolved.

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Association of Financial Advisers general manager policy and professionalism, Phil Anderson confirmed that a letter had been sent to the minister ahead of last week’s round of FASEA consultations which included both industry groups such as the AFA and the Financial Planning Association (FPA) as well as adviser group licensees.

Anderson said that the bottom line for both FASEA and the industry was that serious questions remained with respect to the code of ethics and that time was running out to resolve the issues ahead of the 1 January, 2020 implementation date.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) last month announced that it would be making a legislative instrument to provide up to three years’ relief to advice licensees from financial adviser compliance scheme obligations because of the Government’s decision not proceed with code monitoring bodies.

However, ASIC also made clear that the code of ethics would come into force, as scheduled, on 1 January, next year. On this basis, it appears that only a declaration from the minister would serve to alter the approach of both ASIC and FASEA.

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God help us. Let's hope Jane Hume is on the ball. Thousands of advisers will have their careers and/or businesses destroyed if the code is allowed to proceed unaltered. Our fate rests in her hands...

The only sensible decision is to delay Code implementation to coincide with the start date of the new disciplinary body.

The Code was designed to work in conjunction with a Code Monitoring Body. With that element now abandoned, the Code needs to be rejigged to align with a very different style of regulator whose structure is still being determined. In the interim it will also be an opportunity for FASEA to consider the real world impact of the Code on consumers and advisers, and provide clear guidance. FASEA has clearly failed in those areas so far, so a delay may be the opportunity they need to do their job properly.

When i am in my Ethics exam next month, do i answer questions with the literal code or with the guidance in mind?

What a mess!

Why are ASIC insisting the code comes into force 1 Jan 2020 when its a giant failure and there is no disciplinary body? Are ASIC just looking for easy ways to ban advisers?


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