ASIC, Financial Planning

ASIC extends COVID-19 advice relief

ASIC COVID advice relief

Financial advisers will be able to use records of advice for COVID-19-related matters with existing clients for another six months following an extension by ASIC.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will allow financial advisers to continue to use records of advice (ROA) when providing advice to existing clients where it is related to the impact of COVID-19 until mid-October 2021 under an extension to previously announced relief measures.

The regulator said it was extending the relief, which was first issued on 14 April 2020 for a one-year period, for a further six months, but other relief measures also announced on that date would expire today.

Under the relief extension, financial advisers would be able to use ROAs instead of statements of advice (SOA) with existing clients where their personal circumstances had changed as a result of COVID-19 and the client had already dealt with that adviser or another adviser from the same Australian financial services licensee or practice until 15 October.

ASIC stated it had decided to extend the relief measure after consulting with industry and identifying that some financial advice practices have found the measure helpful.

At the same time, the regulator added relief measures for the provision of advice in regards to the early release of superannuation (ERS), which included not having to provide an SOA and allowing registered tax agents to provide advice to existing clients, were not extended as the government’s ERS scheme ended on 31 December 2020.

The extended relief has been set out in a new legislative instrument – ASIC Corporations (COVID-19 – Advice-related Relief) Instrument 2021/268 – and its use will be monitored, and if considered appropriate, the regulator can end the relief before the six-month period or extend it.

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