ASIC considers regulatory relief for limited advice ROAs

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is actively considering providing regulatory relief so that financial advisers can provide records of advice (ROAs) with respect to limited advice.

The regulator’s intentions have been revealed to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services which has been told that ASIC is “considering possible relief to expand the situations where a ROA can be used, for example when providing limited advice or strategic advice”.

ASIC said it was considering the relief with respect to ROAs in circumstances where statements of advice (SOAs) had been identified by financial advisers as a significant barrier to the delivery of more affordable advice in the form of limited advice.

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ASIC also noted the number of financial advisers who, as part of its affordable advice review consultation process, told the regulator it “should talk directly to advisers, not just licensees, professional associations and lobbyists”.

Under the heading “SOAs are a key cost barrier to providing limited advice”, the regulator said respondents to its consultation around affordable advice “have raised that Government should reconsider the SOA requirements and expand the situations when a ROA is permissible instead of an SOA”.

ASIC noted that it had consulted on ‘strategic advice’, which it had defined as advice that addresses a client’s needs and goals either:

  • Without making a financial product recommendation to a client; or
  • By only making a recommendation about a class of financial products.

It said that 128 respondents thought Australians would benefit from more strategic advice and that it was now considering how to address the following key issues that were raised:

  • The boundary between product advice and strategic advice is uncertain: Based on this feedback, we will consider developing some examples, to show how compliant strategic advice can be given. The examples will also address when strategic advice becomes product advice; and
  • Licensees restrict the provision of strategic-only advice: Adviser respondents say that their licensees restrict strategic-only advice and require advisers to go through the full advice process (including product suitability tests), even though a client only seeks strategic advice. We intend to explore this issue further in the roundtables.

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It sounds like they are listening

no, it sounds like they are coming up with a cunning plan to trap us and punish us with more paperwork.

does not sound good.

what's the catch?

how is this going to make my life more difficult?

it's coming out of ASIC for God Sake, why would they try to think about what is in the best interest of the financial adviser and the public.

tell me, someone, how is this going to JAM me?

me too. what's the catch, how do they plan on nailing us!

More carve outs for ASIC's union buddies.

Sounds like after all this "reform" we are going back to the old CAR's.

For anyone under 45 this is the old Customer Advice Record of the 90's.

Well done ASIC you bunch or morons.

Whats a Customer Advice Record? - sorry wasn't around in the 90s.

It's effectively a limited advice RoA. We've spent 20+ years going in circles in regulatory knots.

read the OP's post. numbnuts.

They've screwed it so bad to now, I'm trying to see how this is a trap. In my view you can't be cynical enough now.

I am the same way, it's either a trap or will become one. it doesn't matter what ASIC does there is a double layer of regulations from the dealer group, who won't follow ASIC's direction anyway.

so it is a moot point.

the main culprit is the AFSL system, until that is gotten rid of nothing will change.

what adviser is going to use a ROA even if it were allowed? none, we were given the opportunity to use one for the super release due to covid, and we didn't.

no way Jose. not gonna. get rid of the AFSL, register advisers individually then we can talk, otherwise, my price is going up daily, in fact, because I am annoyed, I am going to add an extra 10% on top of everything I invoice today.

you have jammed me long enough, now you will see what it is like getting jammed back, and I will twist it just for the pleasure, with pleasure madam.

The difference between an SOA and an ROA is not that significant these days. This will do nothing to relieve financial advisers from the regulation strangulation. If ASIC thinks this is the solution, they have just proven why it is not the right organisation to conduct this review. Besides, how can they solve the problem when they ARE the problem? All submissions should be made public and the task of reviewing the submissions and providing recommendations to Government should be handed over to a panel of qualified, experienced, practicing financial advisers. These government bureaucrats don't have a clue about financial advice.

It's hard to believe that FoFA has been with us since 2013 and before that, the FSRA since 2002 and we're only now talking about options to provide product aspecific strategy advice? This has been a major problem with the legislation the whole way along - it has been focused on appropriate selling of "financial product", not on quality strategic advice. I'd be all for some much needed regulatory relief but I despair that it will be just more tinkering around the edges that sounds good in an ASIC press release (aka the Covid-19 relief measures which the industry couldn't use) but provides little "real" relief. We need real reform which has to include a review and re-write of Part 7.7A of the Corps Act (and related measures) and parts of the FASEA Code to move away from everything having to start with full holistic advice (so the provisions harmonise much more readily and facilitate limited advice in a more practical sense). This has to be about bringing down the cost of advice to enable ordinary Australians to gain financial confidence and control. Consumer protections are not diminished because of the raft of measures which put advisers and licensees on the hook before the regulators and AFCA (and don't forget we have a brand new disciplinary body coming).

I'm sorry. Strategic advice can NEVER be product advice. If I advise a client they would benefit from making a concessional contribution to super, that's strategic advice. If I tell them to which fund to make the contribution, that's PRODUCT advice. The two are usually done in combination, but are CLEARLY mutually exclusive. Where's the confusion?

What if you're advising a client to commence an allocated pension? That's strategic advice, in moving from accumulation to pension, but an allocated pension is a type of product. Even if you haven't advised them which allocated pension to buy, you're advising them to buy a product that has product fees, and will require further product decisions, including the choice (advised or not) of investment option. If you dont advise which product to buy, have you by default accepted that they will just use their existing fund's offer? Is the lack of personal product advice now becoming indirect advice (to just use the fund you already have).

I can see how licensees want to get involved and say that at minimum you must include product advice, perhaps even if only to advise on the product implications of using the same super provider - there will likely be a change in product costs. Is the advice complete if you dont let them know the change in costs between accumulation and pension? Is the advise complete if you dont consider their asset allocation, cash holding amount, death benefit instructions, insurance impact, and other implications of moving from accumulation to pension. It all seems so simple to us, but do we just leave clients to work out all the follow on details on their own? Product advice becomes necessary to do a full and complete job.

Hi, Ryan. I don't agree that a generic recommendation (eg start a TTR pension) becomes product advice until and unless you recommend a specific product. Logically, this would usually be the next step, but until you DO nominate a product, the advice is strategic and NOT product advice. There should be scope in the reg's to offer that kind of service on its own. There's definitely a market for it.

A pension is a product Leggs 11.
So any Advice to start a Pension is product Advice.

Wait until the lawyers get a hold of the RoA template - it’ll be back at 20 pages before you know it!


here is the first question I would be asking if I were asic doing the review.

1. how did we get to the very large SoA's in the first place?

well put. not going to do anything risky. if it costs consumers more, then that's not my fault. who came up with the stupid system. now live with it. i have learned to work with it and in fact have become very good at it. so i ain't changing.


SOA or ROA, doesn't matter. The issue is BID. The things this industry has to do to prove BID is unlike any other. Letting you do a ROA means nothing, and still will result in the majority of people being priced out of advice. Like the other posters here I suspect the outcome will just be more carve outs for everyone except financial planners.

whatever, it is it will be another way to jam advisers.

Ohh dear, I can see this will be a failure. RoA and SoA are almost the same thing anyway, so it wont save any time. The whole system (BID, FASEA etc) overriding the need for RoA & SoA is what needs to be changed, not some "examples" provided to licensees, which won't budge anyway because they want to protect themselves from AFCA.

Wow it's amazing to see the negativity in the comments here. I see a few comments about an SOA and an ROA being almost the same now, if that's the case for you then you need to move licensee or consider getting your own. The Corps Act requirements for an ROA have not changed since they were introduced - you should be still producing ROA's that are not much more than a Word version of your file notes. You've already provided an SOA which meats BID and provides all of the product disclosures and other education rubbish so you don't need to re-produce any of it in an ROA.

If ASIC comes out and says you can now provide an ROA for all strategic advice then that is a definite positive. The SOA vs ROA question has always been left up to the Adviser to determine which is required..."significant change in circumstances relevant to the scope of the advice"...if they can provide guidance that definitively says you only need a new SOA in x, y and z circumstances then that would also be a positive.

There's no point whinging about what's happened in the past or commenting about "tinkering around the edges", the reality is that they are not going to re-write the corps act which leaves only small changes as an option.

are you serious? how many times have they reformed advice without asking us. what has that resulted in so far? an unworkable, patchwork set of regulations that looks like dog vomit; and you want us to trust the institution that is single-handedly responsible.

negative, not at all. lived experience based on empirical evidence that is repeatable and can be objectively observed. yes.

so we are not negative, we are basing the negativity on fact.

OMG, you are being naïve in the extreme. Can you not see this is yet another Union supper fund carve out for a Regulator that has no understanding of what is going on outside of their own corrupted view of the world?? Seriously, you assume logic, professionalism being allowed and an overarching ethical framework. ASIC understands none of these concepts. We must a have an inflexible rule that adds to paperwork and cost and benefits the client not a jot.

Murder has been illegal for thousands of years and it still happens. No amount of BS admin is going to overturn that. The whole system is broken and needs a full reboot from scratch with NO involvement from ASIC.

Spot on

ASIC are scheming yet again to screw Real Advisers and promote more loop holes for their best buddies at Industry Super.
Guarantee it is being designed to promote a major increase in Intra Fund Advice, all paid for by Hidden Commissions, charged to All members when very few members get Advice, FFNS on a massive scale to be expanded by ASIC for ISA. Single product , tied agent, hidden commissions product flogging.
Bet anyone $1 mill that’s the outcome !!!

i won't bet you even $1 Ben as you nailed it

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