How ASIC spent $31,000 on consumer advice submissions

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has admitted spending nearly $31,000 over the past nine years funding submissions specifically on financial advice for its controversial Consumer Advisory Panel (CAP).

What is more, those submissions ranged across issues as diverse at the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) legislation to codes of conduct and opt-in.

But the financial advice specific submissions were just a small part of the broader funding provided to the CAP which totalled well over $100,000.

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Answering questions on notice from NSW Liberal backbencher, Jason Falinksi, as part of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, ASIC outlined the funding it had provided, but claimed that it had not benefited any specific consumer group.

“Beyond its broad consumer protection role noted above, one area of Commonwealth laws that ASIC administers is those relating to the provision of financial advice,” ASIC said. “These include laws going to licensing and the obligations that attach to holding a license, disclosure, standards of conduct and advice, conflicts of interest, codes of conduct approval, and dispute resolution and remediation.”

“ASIC provided funding to support the preparation of consumer submissions relating to financial advice on four occasions in the past 10 years:

2018-2019: Joint consumer submissions on the FASEA code of ethics and education pathways. The submissions incorporate issues raised in the FASEA Consumer Forum of June 29, 2018. Dr Hugh Breakey & Professor Charles Sampford. $10,000.

2012-2013: Joint consumer submission to ASIC Consultation Paper 191 Future of Financial Advice: Approval of codes of conduct for exemption from opt‑in requirement. Gordon Renouf $5,280.

2011-2012: Joint consumer submission in response to the St John Report on Compensation Arrangements for Consumers of Financial Services. Gordon Renouf and Amie Meers $6,600.

2011-2012: Coordination and preparation of joint consumer submissions to the consultation on the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) Bills tranches 1 and 2. Associate Professor, Joanna Bird, University of Sydney $9,000.”

ASIC said the funding was not provided on behalf of any specific consumer group.

“CAP members identified the need for consumer submissions to these public consultation processes and ASIC decided to allocate funding to facilitate the preparation of a joint consumer submission.

“In each case it was up to the relevant consultant to determine what organisations or individuals they spoke to in preparing the submission, including CAP members,” the ASIC response said.




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“ASIC provided funding”
No ADVISERS WERE MADE TO PROVIDE FUNDING to prepare CONFLICTED PAID FOR COMMENT FARSEA PAPER. That is supposed to be about Ethics, eliminating conflicts of interest etc.
YET THE VERY PROCESS OF ASIC PAYING ACADEMICS TO WRITE THIS FARSEA PAPER WHEN THOSE WRITING IT HAD MASSIVE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, that are NOT disclosed. And very clearly shows that ASIC AND THESE ACADEMICS HAVE ZERO ETHICS.
2018-2019: Joint consumer submissions on the FASEA code of ethics and education pathways. The submissions incorporate issues raised in the FASEA Consumer Forum of June 29, 2018. Dr Hugh Breakey & Professor Charles Sampford. $10,000.
WHAT AN ABSOLUTE FARCE IS FARSEA.

Ben, I think your computer has a CapsLock problem, you might want to consider getting it checked out. Makes your comments a little difficult to read.

Yes, but it does indicate the level of disgust... the disgust we all share when it relates to ASIC's unfair and morally corrupt practices

I don't share disgust. I'm a bit selfish.

Consumers of financial advice are much worse off now than ever before. Professional advisers are now so bound up in regulatory complexity, it is too difficult and too expensive for most consumers to access them. At the same time, shonky, unlicensed advice has ballooned. Yet consumers get very little protection from these far more dangerous sources of advice.

ASIC is primarily focused on regulatory overkill of the licensed advice sector (which is forced to pay ASIC for the privilege) and largely ignores unlicensed advice. Whatever ASIC is paying so called "consumer groups", it is definitely not leading to better consumer protection.

I have no problem with ASIC paying third parties for research, which helps them make a better informed submission. But to pay a third party, to make a submission on top of ASIC's own submission, we'll that's just manipulation of the process, and borders on corruption. That ASIC don't understand the moral hazards of their behaviour shows how twisted the culture of that organisation is.

Would seem ASIC, Treasury, Pollies, Consumer Groups and Academics are All seriously needing to complete a 120 hrs FARSEA Ethics course and exam.

...and from some of the rule changes relating to insurance in Super lately, they need to do some sort of basic course to learn about the basic principles of insurance.

Makes you wonder what these big tax returns fees are really for......these accounting firms who audit financial companies.... Payment for tax returns or bribe payments? I want to see all the ASIC commissioners tax return costs and full look back into all cost and waste

Interesting that the FPA has $12 million sitting in cash earning 0.5% at best and yet ASIC paid out $10,000 to a group of Academics on the subject of FASEA, (individuals whose jobs are likely being replaced by new learning standards like Youtube and Podcasts), not a bad investment on their behalf. What is it, we just don't care, poor leadership, what is it?

Take a look at their financial advisory experience. FPA - Dante De Gori (3 years 4 months), FPA - Ben Marshan (1 year 8 months), AFA Phillip Kewin (zero). Source: their LinkedIn profiles.
So what does this tell you? My take - 1) they have very little understanding about what it takes to succeed as a financial planner; 2) their future career success is dependent on good relationships with the leaders of financial institutions and government bodies. When you look at it in that context, is it really a surprise that the FPA and AFA are not fighting for their members, even during our darkest hour.

I wonder what the lines of communication were between ASIC and the people providing the reporting? Did ASIC already know what they were buying, to support their own views and reports... This sounds like a cigarette company paying for a report that says smoking is healthy.

Conflict of interest?
Beyond reproach?
Mercenaries?
Paid opinion writers?
Highly irregular
Not indicative of an impartial umpire.

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