Should advisers and finfluencers have the same regulation?

finfluencers ASIC the advisers association TAA neil macdonald quality of advice review

27 July 2022
| By Liam Cormican |
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The rise of the finfluencer will not slow despite efforts by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), says The Advisers Association (TAA), and the same rules should apply to planners.

TAA chief executive, Neil Macdonald, said he did not want to see finfluencers disappear as they served a need, especially for young people.

“However, it’s extremely unfair that well-qualified, experienced, professional advisers have to go through so many more hoops than finfluencers to provide similar information and education,” he said.

Macdonald said one of the reasons consumers, particularly younger consumers, paid attention to finfluencers was they typically provided short, sharp, easily-digestible financial information on one particular aspect of growing wealth or managing money at a time.

“The challenge facing advisers, however, remains the same as it has long been – advisers carry heavy regulatory burdens which hamper them in delivering similar information at a price the consumer can afford. Finfluencers do not carry that same burden.”

Macdonald said he hoped the Quality of Advice Review (QAR) would address this inequity and allow advisers to provide simple advice.

“The fact that consumers listen to finfluencers indicates to us that there is an appetite for bite-sized advice within the community and therefore there is a place for scaled or scoped advice,” he said.

“Advisers are the people best qualified and experienced to provide good quality advice, but they have their hands tied by a range of factors including product-focussed legislation, multiple regulators and licensee policies and processes. They are not enabled to provide simple advice, simply and they should be.”

Macdonald said it is important to raise consumer awareness of the difference between finfluencers and financial advisers.

“More needs to be done to create awareness that quality advice is not just information, or education, it’s not just product. It’s about the overall strategy, managing the risks and it’s personal. It is tailored to the individual client and is designed to help them stay on track,” he said.

“It’s also about helping them to avoid the noise and stop them from making silly decisions.”

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