Light-touch regulation needed for advice profession: FSC

Advice should be treated with the respect given to doctors or lawyers as the industry has successfully improved itself to become a profession, according to Financial Services Council chief executive Blake Briggs.

Speaking to Money Management, Briggs, who took over as CEO in March after an acting period, said he believed the industry had successful improved its standing with the public.

“[Lawyers and doctors] are treated with the respect they deserve and I think advice is now in that space and should be treated with a lot more respect, particularly in Canberra, than it is by a lot of participants.

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“Here is the opportunity to treat it like a profession, treat it with respect, have a lighter-touch regulatory regime and trust the professional judgement of individual advisers. They are the ones who sit down with the clients, who know their best interests and how to deliver them.”

Referencing the Quality of Advice Review, he said he was pleased the Government was acting promptly to assess the impact of the financial services Royal Commission. The challenge for Michelle Levy, he said, would be to establish which issues were going to be her focus from a very broad remit.

“If we had a backward-looking review looking at regulatory change over the last decade, it would be much more difficult to achieve consensus because we’d be picking over the embers of prior battles. What we need to do now is focus on what to do next and what is the regulatory regime appropriate for the future.

“Traditionally reviews result in the ratcheting up of the regulatory overlay but I think there’s optimism that we’re going in the opposite direction. This review is about what sensible changes can be made to deregulate the industry.

“If you look at the journey that advice has been on, so much of it has been about getting the advice industry to a point where it is recognised as a profession and our view is that has worked.

“The regulatory overlay required to get to the profession isn't the same one you need when it is a profession. So we need a lighter touch regulatory system that reflects the professionalised nature of advice as opposed to the heavy-handed approach that was required to get it.”

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We'll spend the next decade pondering over what lighter touch regulation means and how/when to implement it, we'll all be dead by then.

Nice sentiment, but didn't the FSC last year propose replacing SOA's with a 'Letter of Advice'. A document which, according to their estimate, would take 17 hours of work to produce. I don't see lawyers or doctors (or any other profession for that matter) wasting away half their week on this sort of regulatory overkill.

Blake Briggs….the FSC have done nothing over the last 8-10 years other than try and kill the independent advisers….don’t start trying now mate.

....and now they've successfully achieved that, "let's open the coffin to see what's left"!!!

One day, maybe, all the politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, et al, will eventually realise you cannot legislate for greed !

Lets be clear here. The FSC is the advice profession's arch enemy. The sole purpose of the FSC is to achieve policy settings that allow their members to flog more product. End of story. The sooner the FSC gets it's grubby nose out of the profession the better.

Well the professional judgement of the doctor was that my wife with 1 week to live should be rushed off to have her brain radiated. No letter of advice just sent with unseemly haste to be radiated despite my objections, my wife relented. Before they would even start, I was dragged into a room and told to sign for the $17,000 cost. Suddenly I understood the "need" for haste. My wife was dead one week later from a brain seizure that the radiation treatment was meant to suppress. I would suggest there was never any hope of relief but rather a commercial interest in milking every last cent out of us prior to her passing. I complained but never heard another word.

I cant imagine what the authorities would have done to me if I had acted as these "professionals" did.

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