ASIC, Financial Planning

ASIC outlines plans to assist advisers

ASIC assist advisers

The chair of ASIC has reaffirmed the regulator’s focus on reducing red tape related to financial advice and outlined some new initiatives to assist practitioners.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will roll out a number of initiatives to assist advisers in reducing the burden of providing advice, recognising current law has made that task complex.

ASIC chair Joseph Longo said the area of unmet advice needs was a priority for the corporate regulator and it was responding to industry feedback for simpler guidance and lower barriers to limited advice.

“It’s widely acknowledged that we have a complex regime in chapter seven [of the Corporations Act] and I think we need to work together to look for ways to simplify the regime without giving up the protections and reforms that [the industry] has worked so hard to embrace,” Longo told the AFA (Association of Financial Advisers) Hybrid Conference 2021.

“We have a number of initiatives that [ASIC] is working on at the moment, including a new financial advice web page where we’re hoping to consolidate and centralise all financial advice-related content.

“We are trying to improve the practical guidance and examples we give around records of advice and the same applies to providing compliant limited advice.”

According to Longo advisers and licensees had taken a conservative view on advice documents, but the law called for ‘clear and concise documents’ and ASIC would provide extra guidance in the form of example documents to assist advisers.

While the government has recently announced the ASIC industry funding model will be reviewed, he noted the impact of costs for financial advisers is yet to be revealed.

“The government’s made an announcement fixing the levy on financial advisers for a couple of years and there will be a review of the industry funding model. This is an example of the law mandating how the levy works and coming out of the review, we’ll have to wait and see what impact that will have on advisers.” he said.

In addition, with the single disciplinary body set to take effect from 1 January 2022, he said ASIC was unable to comment on how it would implement its new oversight powers.

“We’re working closely with the Treasury and the government to ensure that the legislation is implemented with its objectives,” he said.

“We are going to be practical and reasonable with the way the [single disciplinary body] requirements are implemented.”

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