CPA Australia Advice granted licences

CPA Australia has been granted an Australian financial services licence (AFSL) and Australian credit licence (ACL) from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for its CPA Australia Advice subsidiary and believes its offering will be highly competitive against the big banks.

According to ASIC’s professional register, CPA Australia Advice’s licences commenced on 15 April.

CPA Australia and CPA Australia Advice chief executive Alex Malley said the granting of the licences was a critical step for the body as it could now get on with the job of delivering its objectives for setting a new benchmark for professional and ethical conduct in making independent financial advice available to all Australian consumers.

“As we work towards being operational by 1 July, we’ll continue our engagement with members,” Malley told selfmanagedsuper.

“This includes the ongoing and rigorous process of reviewing applicants who meet our criteria and appointment of authorised representatives.”

He said he believed CPA Advice Australia would provide a unique alternative to the big banks and financial institutions that dominated the sector.

“There’s no doubt that the issues that have arisen around some of these institutions have eroded public trust and confidence,” he said.

“Like everyone else, we’ve seen too many of these instances where Australians have suffered as a result of poor financial advice driven by conflicts of interest.

“Rather than sit idly by, our board took the unanimous decision last year to get involved and, consistent with our commitment to the public interest, do something about it and so CPA Australia Advice was born.

“Our offering – no commissions, no hidden incentives, no asset-based fees – is something these big banks just can’t compete with.”

He said the new advice arm was aware of the magnitude of what it was seeking to do.

“But we’re confident that the uniqueness of our offering will resonate in the marketplace,” he said.

“Our commitment to independence, transparency and integrity means we’re comfortable running our own race.

“It means we’re not sensitive to competition and are in this for the long haul.”

CPA Australia recently completed information sessions with its members across the country to explain how CPA Australia Advice would operate, with the response “overwhelmingly positive”, he said.

He stressed independence was at the heart of CPA Australia Advice.

“Our operations will be consistent with section 923A of the Corporations Act, which allows us to use terms like independent, impartial and unbiased when referring to our services,” he pointed out.

“We’ll also be consistent with APES (Accounting Professional and Ethical Standard) 230. We are about putting an end to conflicts of interest in financial advice.

“This is our model because our focus is on what is right for the person seeking the advice, not what is financially beneficial for the adviser.”

CPA Australia announced it would become a financial advice licensee in June last year.

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