Forgetting which party brought in the Royal Commission, the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) and has oversight of the corporate regulator, Liberal members Jason Falinski and Tim Wilson have concluded the corporate regulator and industry super funds are to blame for Australians being unable to access affordable advice.
At the House of Representatives Standing Committee for Economics, Synchron independent chair, Michael Harrison, was asked by Falinski what the purpose of policy was to force experienced advisers with a clean record to commence education requirements.
Harrison noted the accounting degree he did in the 1960s was not recognised by FASEA.
Falinski asked how many complaints had been brought against Harrison in his career, to which he said none.
“So here is someone who has been in the sector for almost 50 years, never had a complaint against them in their lifetime and we’re forcing you to go back and get re-educated,” Falinski said.
“We’re going to lose you from the industry, even though in reality you wanted to [continue].
“For no good reason, no consumer outcome or to broader society, we are forcing you to get re-educated… What is the matter of public policy that we are achieving here?”
Harrison said he did not think the outcomes that were desired were being achieved.
“The outcome we should be looking for is to help as many people as possible get financial advice, I don’t think we’re doing that in any way shape or form,” Harrison said.
Falinski asked who benefitted from Australians not having advice.
Harrison said the biggest beneficiary seemed to be the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) because they kept on “finding new ways to make money”.
“Having said that slightly facetiously, it’s hard to see who the beneficiaries are except for high wealth individuals as they’re the only ones that can get advice,” Harrison said.
Falinski said if an ordinary Australian earning between $50,000 to $200,000 a year couldn’t afford advice and it had been made unlawful for banks to give advice, then superannuation funds must be the only alternative.
“Super funds… are they offering a form of advice that looks like advice but isn’t? So you think… just from looking at it, that some of beneficiaries might be ASIC and some super funds?” Falinski said.
“We have a situation where we’re introducing public policy out of a Royal Commission – which by the way was a bunch of a lawyers saying ASIC should use more lawyers to sue people, I found that most amusing – and we get to the point where ASIC is charging the industry they’re seeking to sue more of.
“And the biggest beneficiary are industry super [funds] who are offering intrafund advice that ASIC and APRA refuse to regulate.
“Maybe we should ask a few super funds to come in front of us and explain how this is benefitting ordinary Australians.”
Wilson said: “It’s funny how a lot of these things end up with the regulators and super funds always winning, isn’t it, Mr Falinski?
“What point, Mr Falinksi, does it become corruption where people use public policy to remunerate their own benefit?”