The Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) has highlighted five key priorities for the industry in its Quality of Advice Review.
In its submission, which the FPA worked on with 12 other organisations, it said there were five areas the organisations all agreed were a focus:
- Recognising the professionalism of financial planners;
- Addressing the needs of clients including easier-to-understand documentation;
- Achieving regulatory certainty;
- Improving sustainability of profession and practices; and
- Facilitating open data and innovation.
While the industry was in agreement in these issues, it was likely they would also make their own individual submissions on matters specific to their own members.
Professionalism of financial planners
The FPA proposed a simplified regulatory regime including eliminating the duplication between the registration and professional standards for advisers and the authorisation and obligations of the Corporations Act.
Needs of clients
Financial advice disclosure and documentation frameworks should be updated to ensure they are designed with clients’ needs at heart. This required a separation of what needed to be disclosed to the client to meet regulatory and consumer protection and the documentation of financial advice and recommendations. It also recommended removing duplicated requirements across multiple documents.
The FPA said planners were currently “going above and beyond” to reduce their risk as they were uncertain how laws would be interpreted. It recommended exempting simple strategies from Statement of Advice requirements, consolidation of advice fee authorisation requirements and temporary COVID-19 relief measures being made permanent.
Sustainability of profession and practice
Advice practices needed to be financially sustainable, the FPA said, and attractive to new entrants. For those practices which specialised in certain areas, regulatory conflicts needed to be removed while tax-deductibility of financial advice fees would help close the advice gap.
Open data and innovation
Standardisation of data under the Consumer Data Right (CDR) would improve access and affordability of advice and ensure consumer protections were preserved. All financial products should be included in the CDR.