The Financial Planning Association (FPA) has welcomed the introduction of the single disciplinary body (SBD) for financial advisers as part of the Government’s Better Advice Bill 2021 that was introduced into parliament on Wednesday.
FPA chief executive, Dante De Gori, said the body was an important reform for the profession as it required planners to individually register annually with the disciplinary body from 2023 which was part of the journey to individual professional accountability.
The FPA said it supported a model in which registration was the personal responsibility of each planner and was not connected with their employment or authorisation under an Australian financial services licence (AFSL).
The body would come into effect from 1 January, 2022, where the registration of the planner would first be the responsibility of their AFSL in year until the register was transferred from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in 2023.
The bill also required ASIC to convene the Financial Services and Credit Panels (FSCP) with all matters referred to them.
“By expanding the FSCP’s functions to perform the role of the single disciplinary body for financial planners, it is crucial for ASIC to evaluate how they can streamline the process of referring matters to FSCP to minimise the cost blow out,” De Gori said.
“The FPA continues to believe that the best outcomes for both financial planners and consumers come about when the Government and the profession work together on the issues that we are facing. This is an extensive piece of legislation and the FPA will continue to work through the details with the Government.”
However, regarding the reforms relating to the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) the FPA said the bill did not meet the Government’s intention of creating a single set of professional standards for financial planners and a single regulatory regime.
Under the bill, the TPB had the responsibility for the Corporate Authorised Representative (CARs) and AFSL registrations meaning compliance with TPB regulations was still required.
“The FPA will continue to advocate for reform that reduces duplication and the rising costs facing financial planners,” said De Gori said.
“This is a major reform that has already recognised the need to reduce regulatory costs with the winding up of FASEA and the removal of the redundant registration with the TPB. Further changes are needed to ensure that a duplicate set of regulation and the unnecessary red tape this causes is removed in the profession which will have positive flow-on effects for the affordability of advice.”