The roll out of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) and the Government’s oversight of the body and the reforms has been “woeful”, according to the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Financial Services, Stephen Jones.
Jones used an address at the SMSF Association National Conference on the Gold Coast on Thursday to criticise the handling of the professional standards reforms.
He said the Labor party “100% supported” the project of professionalising and ensuring that everyone who had the title of financial adviser or financial planner had the right qualifications and followed the industry code of conduct and ethics.
“We acknowledge the FASEA roll out and the government’s oversight of the rollout has been woeful. Unfortunately, many delegates at this conference have been the meat in that unpalatable sandwich,” he said.
“…we supported the extension for the deadline for advisers to take the FASEA exam, but there has been a monumental mishandling in the roll out of the reforms.”
Jones noted the advice gap and said there were three areas in which to improve the industry. These were:
- The role for the government and the industry to provide financial literacy programs to empower people to make informed choices about savings;
- Affordable income advice be available to all Australians; and
- The provision of advice be decoupled from the sales process. Prohibition of commissions, however they are described, from product manufacturers and advisers.
“By doing this, we believe we can build a robust profession to provide Australians professional, affordable, quality advice,” he said.
“This way we can ensure this monumental creation [superannuation] is something that does the job that it was intended to do – provide Aussies with access to a dignified retirement and better quality of life.”