ASIC highlights stance on video and digital SOAs

financial planning ASIC regulation statement of advice

28 November 2022
| By Rhea Nath |
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The Corporations Act 2001 is 'technology neutral', a senior ASIC executive has noted, paving the way for the use of video statements of advice (SOAs) as long as appropriate compliance standards are met. 

Speaking at the FPA Professional Congress in Sydney, Leah Sciacca, ASIC senior executive leader, said the corporate regulator encouraged the industry “to explore technology and innovation.”

There had previously been concerns among advisers as to whether digital SOAs would meet compliance or regulatory requirements.

In particular, Sciacca highlighted RG244 and RG221 of ASIC’s regulatory guides for regulated entities.

“We encourage industry to explore technology and innovation that might lead to efficiency and benefit consumers. Having said that, RG244 and RG221 are probably the most relevant to this topic. RG244 says, regardless of the means in which you give advice and the form of delivery, the same standards apply. 

“That extends to advice conduct obligations and the advice needing to be appropriate and in the client's best interest. It also applies to the disclosure obligations of an SOA and record keeping,” Sciacca stated.

“RG221 talks about the use of technology and disclosure and it sets out those same principles in terms of it has to be easy to understand, inform the client it needs to be recorded, and that consumers can opt out of receiving digital disclosure.”

She added: “In short, if you comply with everything else you need to comply with, then the Corporations Act is technology neutral”.

The FPA had previously explored how technology could improve the advice experience, to ensure SOAs could be clear, concise and effective while meeting compliance requirements. 

It had discussed a digital format where clients could access their advice in their personal, interactive financial plan over a secure portal or smartphone app.

It also looked at the ways augmented reality and virtual reality could provide an immersive 3D experience to engage clients.

At the FPA Professional Congress, FPA chief executive, Sarah Abood, had also discussed the possibility that financial planners could use online avatars for client meetings by 2030.

“I am a believer that humans want to deal with humans wherever they can, but there will be times when they can't afford to or there's a lead time to get to the human engagement. So if we're talking 2030 here, I do believe that many financial planners will have avatars online and they will be able to do a lot of straightforward engagement with their clients,” she said.

 

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Submitted by Anon on Mon, 2022-11-28 11:30

So you can't hand a FDS and get it signed with a client on Monday because the anniversary date is on Tuesday and so we're expected to use video, avatas and develop technology etc etc to comply with stupid and corrupt laws? Why not have an investigation into corrupt Treasury and ASIC officials ? And get the bad legilisation and poor business practices that impede business removed.

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