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Association endorses new adviser standards

The SMSF Association has come out in full support of the federal government’s decision to legislate the improvement of professional standards for financial advisers.

Improving the educational and ethical standards of financial advisers was a long-term policy of the industry body, especially as it related to the $622 billion SMSF sector, SMSF Association head of policy Jordan George said.

On Monday, Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer announced the government would enact legislation to mandate professional standards for financial advisers, including a code of ethics and compulsory education requirements for all new and established advisers.

“Having financial advisers who meet rigorous standards and have completed relevant education courses is crucial to ensuring consumers receive the best-quality financial advice,” George said.

“This is especially important with the increasing demand for financial advice for the baby boomer generation who are approaching or entering retirement.

“We look forward to working with the new independent standards-setting body to develop improved educational standards for the financial advice industry.

“A priority for the association will be to ensure that advisers that are providing advice to SMSF trustees have the requisite educational qualifications to do so.”

The new standards will begin on 1 January 2019.

The final transition deadline for existing advisers to meet the new degree-equivalent educational status is 1 January 2024.

George said the time frame would give the industry sufficient time to adjust to the new regime.

“But all advisers should not lose focus on their own ongoing professional obligations to their clients to keep improving and developing their advice capabilities,” he said.

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