Licensee petition launched to seek CSLR amendments

Keith Cullen licensees AFSL QAR quality of advice review

25 June 2024
| By Keith Ford |
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A group of licensees have put together a petition calling on the government to fix major issues around the CSLR levy and Delivering Better Financial Outcomes (DBFO) legislation.

The advice profession has made it no secret that it is upset about a number of government measures, with the Compensation Scheme of Last Resort (CSLR) levy and the changes to section 99FA of the SIS Act that form part of the first DBFO bill at the top of the list.

Earlier in June, advisers began collectively forwarding identical letters to their local MPs and senators, cautioning against the government’s mismanagement of advice legislation and regulation.

Now, a petition is circulating to deliver a unified voice against the impact that these measures will have on the profession.

“The financial advice profession is crucial for helping Australians make complex financial decisions. The current form of the CSLR levy and the Treasury Laws Amendment Bill threatens the accessibility of quality advice,” the petition said.

The petition, which was put together by a number of large licensees, is putting the focus largely on the increased costs to advisers, which will flow through to clients.

“Should trustees be compelled to scrutinise every single advice document as per the proposed changes, the additional cost burden – estimated at about $400 per member request – will syphon away hundreds of millions of dollars from Australians’ retirement savings annually,” it said.

“We call on the Parliament to amend the bill to fix s99FA, which adds nothing but confusion, uncertainty, and cost increases for consumers.”

Similarly, on the CSLR, it noted that advisers are being forced to pay for the “misdeeds of a large, failed corporation like Dixon Advisory”, which it added is “unjust and economically unsustainable”.

“The parent company of Dixon Advisory, Evans and Partners, earned over $174 million in revenue last financial year. Yet, new, trusted, and professional advisers are being asked to foot the bill for this corporate failure,” it said.

Speaking with Money Management's sister title ifa, Keith Cullen, managing director of WT Financial, which is among the licensees driving the initiative, said the profession needs to get organised and involved in the debate.

“If it ever hopes to achieve anything at a political level, it’s not enough to leave it to your associations to leave it to your parent companies and so on,” Cullen said.

“People need to express their opinions to their local members, to their state senators, so that they understand actually what’s happening.

“You can’t expect your local member to be across every single piece of legislation that’s coming before them; you can only expect them to be across what people are communicating to them in their local electorate.

“It’s imperative that the profession gets off its bum and does something to participate in the political process. Regardless of what the matter was, advisers need to have a voice, the profession needs to have a voice, and it needs to be a voice that’s shown to be coordinated, because otherwise, who’s going to listen to it?”

He stressed, however, that the petition doesn’t mean advisers are against all of the reform measures underway and that the petition should not be seen as “anti-government”.

“We are all supportive of this bill and what it tries to achieve,” Cullen said.

“What people want to see is they want to be able to give the certainty that everybody needs and people would like the government to actually listen to people that are in the profession, and in the financial advice industry, who need to live with these changes, who need to implement these changes.

“All we are seeking is some reasonable amendments.”

At the time of publication, the petition had received more than 750 signatures. It can be found here.

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