Uncertainty hampers new advice regime

Intense lobbying by financial advisers has clearly resonated in Canberra with many parliamentarians acknowledging their understanding of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) regime but delivering no certainty on key issues such as extending the implementation time-table.

As well, the major financial advice industry organisations are still seeking greater clarity from the Government around its intentions with respect to implementing code of conduct monitoring arrangements.

Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) chief executive, Phil Kewin, said recent lobbying in Canberra had persuaded him financial advisers had been highly active and successful in informing their local parliamentarians about the problems and uncertainty currently confronting the industry.

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However, he said uncertainty remained about if and when the Government would introduce legislation aimed at extending the time-frames around the FASEA regime to return it to its originally-envisaged timetable.

Both the AFA and the Financial Planning Association (FPA) have called for a 12-month extension of the FASEA timetable to 1 January, 2022, claiming such a move would restore the full two-year period for financial planners to study for and take the exam.

The two organisations are also keen to obtain clearer signals from the Government on its intentions with respect to FASEA code of conduct monitoring bodies in circumstances where the Royal Commission has recommended an alternative regime but where planners will need to subscribe to an authorised scheme by 15 November, this year.

The AFA, FPA, the Boutique Financial Planners (BFP), Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA), SMSF Association, and Stockbrokers and Financial Advisers Association (SAFAA) have entered into an agreement aimed at establishing a code-monitoring body but are seeking greater certainty because of the high financial commitment which would be involved.

Kewin said that the AFA and the other parties remained committed but needed certainty about the Government’s longer-term intentions before embarking on what represented a significant financial commitment.

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