The Government stepping in to the reduce the projected increase for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) levy has been the biggest win for advocacy in 2021, according to the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA).
The change to levy was announced in late August, which restored it to its FY19 level of $1,142 per adviser for the next two years (FY21 and FY22), in addition to the flat per licensee charge of $1,500.
Speaking at the AFA regulatory update, Phil Anderson, AFA general manager for policy and professionalism, said this was likely the biggest win for 2021.
“This was assisted by Parliamentary hearings putting a lot of focus of how it was possible as to how the ASIC funding levy could have more than tripled in the course of three years,” Anderson said.
“The Government in late August finally agreed to provide some relief and that has meant that is being pegged $1,142 per adviser for the last financial year and this current financial year.
“That has turned out of a saving of probably around $2,400 per adviser in each of those years, so a really big win for advocacy.”
Anderson also praised ASIC for its guidance on records of advice (ROA), which he said was “another sign of ASIC listening to the advice profession and being more engaged and willing to how they can help out to make things easier for advisers”.
He said this was one of the positive outcomes of ASIC’s unmet advice needs project, formally known as CP 332 ‘Promoting access to affordable advice for consumers’, which ASIC put on hold due allocating resources towards organising the single disciplinary body.
“[In January] ASIC had the CP 332 unmet advice need project where they were seeking feedback from right across the sector on ideas about how they could improve their oversight and guidance for the industry,” Anderson said.
“It’s an important process and we’ve seen a few things come out of it as a result of it, including the recent record of advice guidance.
“We have to welcome that because records of advice is an area licensees have tended dictate how they were able to be used, so it was really good to get ASIC guidance on that.
“We will get more from ASIC moving forward in terms of these initiatives that will help improve the ability to give advice and the understanding of what your regulatory obligations are.”