Financial advisers will have until 15 November, next year to subscribe to a code of ethics compliance scheme, under arrangements released by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) today.
ASIC has released Regulatory Guide 269 covering approval and oversight of compliance schemes for financial advisers and has made clear the obligations of both financial advisers and licensees.
The regulator has released the guidance before it has even approved code monitoring bodies, but has made clear that it expects those bodies will be either professional associations or professional services firms.
It said monitoring and enforcement of compliance with the code represented a significant responsibility and it therefore expected monitoring bodies to meet very high standards.
The ASIC guide said one of the key aims of the code and the associated compliance scheme framework was “to encourage higher standards of behaviour and professionalism among financial advisers, thereby improving consumer trust in the financial advice industry”.
“This requires financial advisers to:
- feel personally and intrinsically supported and motivated to act in an ethical manner, and in accordance with the code specifically;
and (b) have a genuine belief that if they do not comply with the code, that behaviour may be identified and acted on by a monitoring body.”
“Because financial advisers and AFS licensees may be able to select from a number of different compliance schemes, it is important that there is consistency in the approach to monitoring and enforcement across the schemes,” the ASIC guidance said.