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Industry body applauds advice legislation

The SMSF Association today welcomed the introduction into Parliament of the federal government’s legislation to lift the education and ethical standards of financial advisers.

“This legislation is a critical step in lifting the education and professional standards of the financial advice sector, which will result in improved outcomes for consumers of financial advice,” SMSF Association chief executive Andrea Slattery said.

“Our association has long advocated for increased education standards in financial advice, believing that they are key to developing a respected financial advice profession and ensuring that consumers can trust the advice they receive.

“We have supported the process of reforming financial advice standards through recent years and are pleased to see its culmination in today’s introduction of the Corporations Amendment (Professional Standards of Financial Advisers) Bill 2016.”

Slattery noted the new legislation established a framework that would raise the education and ethical standards through a co-regulatory approach, which would allow the industry to take responsibility for its professionalism.

“We look forward to working closely with the new industry standards-setting body created by today’s legislation,” she said.

“A key priority will be to ensure that the new education standards recognise the importance of specialist advice areas, such as SMSF advice.

“This is especially important as approximately 1.1 million Australians have $636 billion in retirement savings invested through the SMSF sector and often depend on their adviser to assist them to achieve their retirement goals.”

The professional industry body also welcomed the generous transitional time frames for existing advisers to meet the new education requirements.

“However, it’s important to stress that advisers should not sit back and wait for the government’s deadlines to undertake further education to improve their competencies,” Slattery warned.

“It is each adviser’s own professional duty to keep improving their knowledge and qualifications to deliver high-quality advice to their clients.”

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