At the same time as financial planning firms and advisers lament a forecast 60% increase in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) levies it has been confirmed they are, in part, paying for the regulator to provide policy advice to Government.
Policy advice is usually provided to the Government as part of the general functions of Government departments and agencies, but the latest ASIC Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS) detailing its user-pays and cost-recovery approach has outlined a distinct and individual line-item of “policy advice”.
For the financial planning elements of the CRIS the “policy advice” line item is a comparatively modest $115,000 which falls under the broader general heading of “Budgeted costs to regulate licensees that provide personal advice to retail clients on relevant financial products”.
For its part, ASIC explains what it does with respect to providing policy advice as being:
- Research and analyse innovation, competition and emerging harms;
- Provide proposals for law reform and assist in its development;
- Identify and plan for the impact on external stakeholders and internal capabilities; and
- Provide submissions to parliamentary and Government inquiries on law reform issues.
The good news for financial advisers is that the amount ASIC is attributing to policy advice for them is lower than that for insurance companies $447,000 and superannuation funds $1.456 million.
The cost of ASIC providing policy advice to Government and other entities has been revealed not long after discussion around whether the regulator’s role should be narrowed to policing rather than policy-making in the wake of debate around governance issues involving the payment of expenses for the chairman, James Shipton and his deputy, Daniel Crennan.
Both men have been cleared of any wrongdoing but Crennan resigned his post and the Government is recruiting to replace Shipton.