ASIC urged to be facilitative on FOFA

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has been urged to take a facilitative approach to oversight of the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) legislation in the wake of the Government's regulatory changes having been revoked by a vote in the Senate overnight.

The call has been made by Financial Planning Association (FPA) chief executive, Mark Rantall, who last night informed a function associated with the FPA Congress that the Federal Opposition had been successful in joining with minor party senators to overturn the regulatory changes and that therefore many planners and planning firms would find themselves in breach of the FOFA laws.  

He said it was clear that planners had been blind-sided by events in the Senate and would need time to bring themselves into compliance with the FOFA changes as they had previously existed.  

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Delegates attending the FPA Congress expressed anger at the manner in which the Government's FOFA changes had been reversed and the heavy additional compliance burden that would result.  

ASIC deputy chairman, Peter Kell who is attending the FPA Congress acknowledged that events in the Senate had created an unexpected change and indicated that the regulator would be adopting a facilitative approach as those affected moved to become compliant. 

Kell's comments were affirmed by a short press release sent out yesterday evening by ASIC which stated it "will take a practical and measured approach to administering the law as it now stands" 

"We will take into account that - as a result of the change to the law that applies to the provision of financial advice - many Australian financial services (AFS) licensees will now need to make systems changes," ASIC stated. 

"ASIC recognises this issue may arise in particular areas, including fee disclosure statements and remuneration arrangements. We will work with Australian financial services licensees, taking a facilitative approach until 1 July 2015."

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