Ramani, thanks for your comment. Advice is given everyday in relation to a range of matters (both financial and non-financial) and recourse is available under existing law for the receivers of the advice to take action against reckless or negligent advice (including omissions) that causes harm where the advice provider owes a duty of care and it was reasonable for the receiver to rely on that advice. This has not changed. What has changed, as the other commentators have also pointed out, is that the original intent of the financial services reform was not to place licensing restrictions and additional regulatory burden on the provision of advice that is not related to either a recommendation or opinion about specific financial products, e.g. a particular superannuation fund or funds. For example, ASIC's own MoneySmart website allows people to estimate how much they will need in retirement. Is this advice? Absolutely. Is this financial product advice? In my opinion it is not because providing advice on 'superannuation' generally is not a 'financial product' or 'class of financial products' per the definition under the Corporations law, i.e. the advice lacks the link to a specific identifiable super fund. Should ASIC need to be licensed to provide this service? No - it was always intended that the industry could provide this strategic advice without needing to be licensed. ASIC has tried to further clarify this intent by providing specific exemptions for generic calculators. Licensing was only ever intended for those who provide recommendations or opinions for financial products, or who deal in financial products (e.g. sell or provide broker-type services). Extending the definition of financial product advice to cover strategic advice would further reduce access to affordable and product-agnostic advice and planning information.
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