Financial Planning, Superannuation

COVID-19 SOA relief to end in October

SOA relief

ASIC’s COVID-19 relief measures relating to advice around the early release of super, including the use of an SOA, will be repealed in October.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has announced the relief measures set in place by the regulator in response to the coronavirus crisis will end in October, including advisers not having to supply a statement of advice (SOA) when providing early super access advice.

The corporate regulator said it would repeal three COVID-19-related instruments, including ASIC Corporations (COVID-19 – Advice-related Relief) Instrument 2020/355, which had been implemented by ASIC in order to temporarily assist the financial advice industry during the pandemic.

Under ASIC’s COVID-19 advice-related temporary relief, financial advisers were not required to provide a SOA when providing financial advice on early access to superannuation.

In addition, registered tax agents were permitted to give advice to existing clients about early access to superannuation without needing to hold an Australian financial services licence.

The regulator also issued a temporary no-action position for super trustees to expand the scope of personal advice that might be provided by, or on behalf of, the superannuation trustee as ‘intra-fund advice’. It said the no-action position would expire on 24 September, the same date as the last day for early release of super applications.

It noted the COVID-19 advice-related relief instrument would be repealed on 15 October, six months after it commenced.

“ASIC had publicly stated that these relief measures were temporary and ASIC would repeal the instruments following the COVID-19 crisis. However, following feedback from the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Delegated Legislation, ASIC has decided to amend these instruments to include specific end dates,” it stated.

“ASIC will continue to monitor the appropriateness of these temporary relief measures in light of the uncertain impacts of COVID-19 on capital markets and on the demand for financial advice.

“If ASIC considers it appropriate to end the relief before the six-month period or extend the relief, ASIC will give sufficient notice before any early repeal or extension is implemented.”

Last week, the SMSF Association asked its members to provide feedback on the relief measures provided by ASIC in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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