ASIC extends temporary financial advice COVID-19 relief measures

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will further extend temporary relief measures designed to help the financial advice industry provide consumers with affordable and timely advice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ASIC would extend the record of advice (RoA) relief measure to 15 April, 2022, which was previously extended to 15 October.

This allowed financial advisers to provide a RoA, rather than a statement of advice (SoA), to existing clients requiring financial advice due to the impact of the pandemic. ASIC provided guidance on delivering an RoA in July, which was approved by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA).

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ASIC said it decided to extend this relief after industry consultation identified that the extension would be helpful for financial advisers in the current circumstances.

ASIC also reintroduced the relief measure that allowed financial advisers additional time to give their clients an Statement of Advice after “time-critical” advice had been provided.

Under this measure, financial advisers had up to 20 business days (instead of five business days); the original relief measure expired on 15 April, 2021.

“ASIC remade this relief in response to industry feedback that there is an increased need for time-critical advice due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions,” ASIC said.

“ASIC will continue to monitor the appropriateness of these temporary relief measures as circumstances change and may consider ending the relief before the six-month period if appropriate. ASIC will give sufficient notice to industry before any early repeal is implemented.”

The original relief measures were announced on 14 April, 2020, and were set out in the ASIC Corporations (COVID-19—Advice-related Relief) Instrument 2020/355.

Both temporary relief measures were set out in ASIC Corporations (COVID-19—Advice-related Relief) Instrument 2021/268.

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