ASIC says advisers can appeal for hardship relief on levy

Hard-pressed financial advisers hit by large Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) levy bills have the ability to seek hardship relief, according to the regulator.

What is more the most senior executives within ASIC are claiming that in about two years’ time financial advisers may actually experience lower levy bills as the costs associated with the increased regulatory costs associated with the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry wash through the system.

But the ASIC executives side-stepped a suggestion by Queensland Liberal back-bencher and former financial adviser, Bert van Manen, that it is the banks rather than small financial planning practices which should be meeting the cost of the much-increased levy.

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While ASIC deputy chair, Karen Chester and commissioner, Danielle Press acknowledged that the underlying reason for the significant increase in the levy was the unusual coincidence of a “denominator” and a “numerator” in the same year, outgoing ASIC chair, James Shipton acknowledged financial planning industry concerns about the overall cost and the availability of hardship relief.

“We are open to receipt for applications of hardship and allowance for that,” he told a hearing of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services.

van Manen had earlier referred to answers given by Chester and other members of the ASIC executives which he said had referenced the big end of town – the banks and AMP.

“[Your] answers are consistently referring to the big end of town but it is small business owners who end up paying the price for actions of big end of town,” he said.

“Do you have capacity to ensure that those who incur the large costs bear the commensurate responsibility to pay the levy while those who do not not, pay the levy at a reasonable rate. Do you have the ability to differentiate?” van Manen asked.

Chester said that there was already a gradation formula in the levy but acknowledged that it had been significantly impacted by actions brought about by the Royal Commission a large part of which related to enforcement.

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As usual ASIC has no idea.

It's not that most advisers can't afford it, it's the principle that we should not have to.

ASIC have been focused on the misplaced notion that value is irrelevant and only cost matters.

The fact they can't see the principle involved with respect to their own fees is staggeringly hypocritical.

Come on Wildcat, you are asking ASIC to have a sense of reality and empathy for the endless crap they put small business adviser through.
Keep dreaming Wildcat.
Real Advisers should all refuse to pay.
Let’s see ASIC try to shut us all down.
Complete protest is the only thing and they may start to listen and act less corruptly.

What's wrong Ben, public servants are known for their efficiency and productivity, tireless workers the lot of them.

The fact they've never run a business, never had to pay rent or wages, NEVER actually done anything positive for the economy.

Why should we complain about funding all this nothingness!

PS love your name. PMSL

"Hardship relief" doesn't reduce the payment, it just delays it slightly. To qualify you need to spend hours and hours putting together a detailed application, which will then make you a target for subsequent ASIC persecution. And it's only available at a licensee level. It's a complete cop out by Shipton.

Getting rid of Shipton is not enough. The government needs to shutdown ASIC altogether. It is riddled with bias and incompetence, and has utterly failed Australian consumers. Australia needs a genuine financial consumer protection agency funded by taxpayers.

If the payment causes such ASIC approved hardship, we'd need to be out of business. and wont need the license? thats not a viscous cycle it is somesort of idiot loop that they've put us in.

It was NOT the small businesses that caused the problems, it was the Banks and Insurance Institutions (some of which have exited the Industry) yet every Planner pays a similar exorbitant levy. I am still servicing a small number of good clients at 72 and after 24 years in the Industry this and the crazy FASEA exam will force me out of the Industry !


I'm honestly sorry to see you go, 24 years experience is clearly not valued by muppets who work a 9 day fortnight and get paid a FT salary by the taxpayer and slugged advisers.

Give all your clients to a newly qualified uni grad with all the quals but has no mentoring by an experienced professional.

I'm sure they'll be just fine!!!!

Hi Birmie, my sentiments exactly. For ten years I have been protesting the inequity of having to pay high PII premiums so the insurance companies can foot the bill for wrong-doing at the big end of town, now ASIC's ready to gouge more out of my (very) small business in order to chase the same offenders. No justice here.

Exactly what a corrupt ASIC and their mates at union industry super want to see - more planners exiting.

ASIC's latest 'clean bill of health' to union super is a perfect example.

What a joke; they just don’t get it. Think it’s time for a fresh start commencing with a blank sheet of paper and new people involved.

I do not see ASIC Clowns to the left of me. trying to help advisers, its more about us paying a levy to enable them to nail us.

This is the craziest article I've ever read!
All reality has broken down!

If you wish to apply for hardship it needs to be the licensee who applies for it. ASIC are not interested in talking directly with advisers. The fact licensees pass the costs on to advisers has nothing to do with ASIC according to them.

Professional bodies need to stand up to this nonsense, that’s why they exist! The smaller practices are the ones advising Australians, not the big end. TAA sending the right message in voicing their position on this - well done.

haha OMG! Hardship relief? REALLY?? SO ASIC acknowledge that they are hurting you and perhaps even subtly that it's penalising the wrong end of the spectrum but the response is instead of stopping the hurt suggest some therapy instead...?? They seriously have no's like people from space have taken over in there at ASIC

this is one of the final nails in the coffin of financial planners. a lot of people on the register are barely hanging on when they get a bill for $4 or $5k it will be the final straw.

my prediction is for 5,000 advisers by 2026, all will be advising HNW the rest just won't survive. it is impossible to provide advice that is affordable in a timely fashion, it just can't be done.

One has to appreciate the line of questioning from Bert van Manen. He has been a great addition to the government and seems to be one of the few to actually question ASIC and their actions. Some accountability.

Maybe some of the Financial Planners forced out of industry should run for parliament with the pure aspiration of one day being in Berts seat, so that they can conduct their own grilling (and influence) of ASIC.

it's so funny, whenever the adviser groups and industry bodies call out for help from ASIC, Asic does the opposite, they increase regulation, they increase costs, and then do a 5-year study to figure out why:

a. the cost of advice has gone up through the roof and;
b. why financial planners are leaving in record numbers

it's just unbelievable that they fail to understand the connection between all this. and planners expect this august body that doesn't have a clue to make their lives easier. why? what incentive have ASIC got to make it easier for you and I, other than fronting up in parliament every now and on occasion, it's an easy ride baby, indexed pension, no risk to assume, nothing of value to provide or be responsible and accountable for.

anything they can do or not do is rewarded, there is no commercial risk being undertaken yet they get paid a bonus.

straya mate. where anything goes, oh well as long as we can dig a hole and sell it we'll be ok, after we run out of ground to dip looook out.

they just won't do it.

I argued with FPA to take Direct Action and they issued a draft letter to write to your local Federal MP - this is laughable like the FPA in 2009 did not oppose the elimination of servicing commissions, which advisers used to cover their costs in helping old Age Pensioner clients with (1) CentreLink problems (2) claiming refunds of Imputation Credits from Tax Office (3) the data feeds from platforms on Allocated Pensions has faults so several clients need to do it manually each year or CentreLink threatens to cut off their Age Pension. We have no obligation to provide that service now so old Age Pensioners should get advice from their Federal MP which eliminated Service Commissions. Now in 2021 no Direct Action from the FPA?? I asked ASIC and the Direct Action plan is (1) complain to ASIC by lodging online form (2) I argued that 2019-20 levy is legal but disproportionate affect on good adviser, survivor firms (3) USA SEC fines wrong doers to recover Enforcement Actions, ASIC levies good survivors (4) if ASIC does not revert to 2018-19 levy, advisers are likely to increase the Adviser Services Fees by around 50% from 1 July 2021 when we issue RG245 Fee Disclosure Statement and we justify this by attaching a copy of ASIC's Industry Invoice. ASIC said it would respond in 28 days - 15th April which is 7 days before Industry Levy is due top be paid. ASIC employs lots of smart corporate lawyers so this action is a "choke hold" that is designed to reduce next Direct Action steps (i) Appeal to Commonwealth Ombudsman and (ii) Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which requires a response from ASIC first. ASIC knows the levy has been calculated with 'disproportionate affect'. It is a breach of Affective Trust in the Regulator (reference: Knowledge on Trust, by Paul Faulkner on "Assurance Theory of Testimony") and bad Domestic Governance (reference: The Myth of Democratic Governance by Emilios Christodoulidis. So, every Adviser with an ASIC AFS license required to pay 2019-20 industry levy should lodge online complaint on ASIC's website as a first step in Direct Action, as soon as possible.

If your approach to the FPA involved an incoherent stream of consciousness like the one above, I'm not surprised your expectations weren't met.

that's funny.

can you define "incoherent stream of consciousness" for us mate?

A rap song by an old white guy.

This would be the perfect time for the FPA and AFA to exercise their muscle.
Don't hold your breath though.

Dear Anon, with respect to my 2 AFSLs with 12 advisers, the 2 Industry Levy Invoices add up to $39,000. Would you describe $39,000 as an "incoherent stream of consciousness"? We working advisers over the age of 50 and 65 are struggling to find cash after paying school fees and mortgages to contribute to superannuation and be able to afford to retire. The references included above are in my Law PhD thesis, "Private Equity: The Challenge of New Legal Frameworks" for a functional model in Microprudential governance. Does the Financial Planning profession need functional Microprudential governance, based in information efficiency?

hi ross,

can you please apply for a job at ASIC, they are looking for analysts to work in financial planning.

Be careful putting your hand up for hardship if you have your own AFSL. It won't look great proving capital adequacy requirements.

too true. an innocent adviser puts their hand up for help, only to be bitten off and have their AFSL cancelled. oh, the irony. but it's exactly what would happen.

it's an invitation to ASIC to cancel your license. better of just winding up the business and give your clients Jane Hume's office number to call and get advice.

outa here, muchachos

How many Directors of AFS licensee have the courage to commit to Direct Action by going onto ASIC's webpage online and lodge their complaint against disproportionate excess charging calculation of the 2019-20 Industry Levy? Would you believe ASIC's promises that it will be lower in the future? Why are wrong doers not paying ASIC fines instead of us good survivors paying for their Industry Levy instead of wrong doers? You need to ask critical questions to find the truth for Common Law: Procedural Justice and Distributive Fairness (Equity). We are not getting it from ASIC, who should be protecting Financial Advisers when acting in the interests of their client (RG244) against financial institution's wrong doers (Hayne Royal Commission into Misconduct).

Hi Ross,

if you click on the thingamajig (symbol) at the bottom of a post, you can reply to other posts commenting on your original post without starting a new post.

good luck oldtimer I'm here to help :-)

what about the suggestion in regards to applying for an analyst role at ASIC, they could use your common sense o'r there, and you could hit them over the head with your Ph.D. (in-law) thesis paper. how many pages is it. 300? tell them this is what an SoA looks like.

if you give these lawyers something tangible like a hit on the head with your thesis it might make sense to them (probably not)

My first Law PhD thesis: 112,000 words, 307 pages, 797 footnote citations
This message to the Financial Planners on Australia is if your Dealer AFSL does not under FASEA Standards in the long terms interests of clients and act in the public interest submit a complaint online to ASIC, change your AFSL Dealer to another who takes Direct Action and acts with positive regulatory engagement. Otherwise under your professional obligations, what do you stand for? Have you lost your good old Aussie ethic? My father was in the Australian Army in WW2 (Service No QF63505) in fire fights in the islands above Australia and told me their Officers took their markings off their uniforms so they would not be first marked first by Jap snipers. ASIC Officers who authorised the issuing of the 2019-20 Industry Levies have also avoided showing their officer's markings. (Do as I say, not as I do - official behaviour) We, the Financial Planning advisers responsible for our clients' financial welfare must support Direct Action against the disproportionate affect of this current Industry Levy. Who among Financial Planners wants to increase their Advisers Services Fees by around 50% caused by the current ASIC Industry Levy?
This goes against the holistic ethic of old timers for the last 30+ years of active responsible Financial Planning professionalism. Ross Smith, Director, Shenton Pty Ltd [AFSL 345470] & Shenton Limited [AFSL 342895] (Hong Kong)

I didn't even know you could have an AFSL based in HK so I've learnt something

Hi Ross,

are you in lockdown in HKK mate?

Before Covit pandemic, there was around 1 million Aussies living and working overseas with liabilities at home in Australia. Federal Government (Treasury) has avoided legislating for pension fund rollovers from overseas G20 countries (except New Zealand), which have equivalent taxation compliance regimes to Australia, that should be first be included in Double Taxation Agreements (DTA). For a high new immigration country wanting economic growth, this is Treasury's negligent mess over the last 20 years - funds passport for financial institutions, but no overseas pension fund accounts passport for individuals. UK has QROPS to Australian superannuation, which is based in English Common Law. Is Australia based in English Common Law and is it one of the British Commonwealth of nations' jurisdictions? Will overseas pension account rollovers be included in post-Brexit FTA and its associated DTA between Australia and the UK with information transparency? UK Treasury and US Fed are meeting again next month for their $54 billion (16B + 28B) new Transatlantic Gold Standard in trade and financial services (post Brexit) Agreement to function and lift their economies out of Covit pandemic recession. Lord Gerry Grimstone of Boscobel Kt, Departments for International Trade and BEIS, Minister for Investment said Australia and New Zealand are waiting to follow on, but NZ is much quicker on the uptake than Australian Treasury, which is likely to fiddle with it for the following 5 years.
Not in lockdown, I will receive my 2nd Pfizer jab on 7th April.

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