Financial Planning, Regulation

Advice review must recognise accountants

CAANZ accountants advice

CAANZ has advocated for accountants to be able to provide superannuation advice after having been ignored under the FASEA regime.

Accountants have been overlooked as trusted and reputable providers of superannuation advice and should be included in any discussions about the provision of financial advice, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) has said.

CAANZ made the statement as part of its submission to the federal government’s review of the quality of financial advice, adding that accountants were more than capable of meeting the standards required of those allowed to provide advice.

“A significant number of accountants simply want to be able to advise their clients on strategic matters, particularly in relation to superannuation issues, yet they can’t do so under the existing Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) standards,” the accounting body said in its submission.

“Without an Australian financial services licence, these professionals are unable to discuss one of the most important topics clients want from them – single-issue (limited) superannuation advice.

“Clients simply don’t want to, and won’t pay for, large fees for work they believe suitably qualified accountants should be able to provide in the ordinary course of their business advice.”

It added FASEA’s one-size-fits-all approach had not worked across many parts of the model, including the code of ethics, education standards, continuing professional development (CPD) and foreign qualifications.

Instead, the submission noted the best pathway for the provision of financial advice to consumers was consumer-centric legislation that had less regulation and would reduce the cost of advice.

“We believe there is, and will continue to be, a need for trusted advisers to look after the financial advice needs of everyday Australians,” CAANZ said.

“The financial planning industry is working hard to raise education, CPD and ethical standards to be recognised by the public to be a true profession.

“However, chartered accountancy has been a true profession in its own right for decades. This review needs to consider the role of accountants within the industry.

“Put simply, consumers trust chartered accountants in the financial advice industry. We do not believe accountants have been appropriately recognised to date.”

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