The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has announced its decision to revoke temporary relief measures for financial advisers as of 15 April after feedback noted support during the coronavirus pandemic was no longer necessary.
The COVID-19 temporary relief instrument, ASIC Corporations (COVID-19 – Advice-related Relief) Instrument 2021/268, was originally introduced in 2020 and was extended in September 2020, with a further extension in April 2021 and then again in October 2021 until the date announced by the corporate regulator today.
After feedback regarding the necessity of the coronavirus relief measure, ASIC has decided not extend the instrument any further.
“ASIC undertook targeted industry consultation to better understand the effects of our approach. Based on feedback, we do not consider that the current status of COVID-19 responses in Australia provides a sufficient basis for a decision by ASIC to further extend the relief provided by the COVID-19 instrument,” it said.
During the operation of the relief measure, financial planners were not required to provide a statement of advice while advising existing clients. Instead, a record of advice had to be submitted even if the clients circumstances had changed due to COVID-19 and the client had seen a different adviser with the same Australian financial services licence (AFSL) or practice.
ASIC also introduced an urgent advice relief measure that gave financial advisers additional time to provide clients with a time-critical statement of advice.
In addition, the COVID-19 relief instrument allowed registered tax agents to provide advice to existing clients regarding early access to superannuation information without needing to have an AFSL.