The Joint Associations Working Group (JAWG) has given its support to the Quality of Advice Review recommendations, but has called on the federal government to implement them using a staggered timeline.
“The JAWG believes that the Quality of Advice Review provides a series of carefully considered recommendations that taken together represent a holistic package of reform that will protect consumers and make advice safer, more accessible and more affordable,” the collective body stated in a letter to Assistant Treasurer and Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones.
“However, we also understand that to implement all of the recommendations as a holistic package may take significant time. In the interim, many Australians will continue to be denied access to the financial advice they need, or worse, may seek or otherwise receive advice from other unqualified channels to their financial detriment.
“The JAWG supports the review recommendations being implemented in stages, rather than as a holistic package. This will ensure immediate gains can be made, including substantially reducing the cost of accessing financial advice.”
The recommendations the JAWG is asking for more immediate action on cover five topics: reforms to documentary requirements, being recommendations 8, 9, 10 and 11, best interests duty, being recommendation 5, design and distribution reporting obligations, being recommendation 12.1, deduction of fees and client-directed payments, being recommendation 7, and conflicted remuneration, being recommendations 13.1 to 13.9.
“These short-term reforms have the collective potential to reduce the cost of advice, making advice more scalable and more accessible,” the joint bodies suggested.
Areas of the report addressing definitions, such as recommendations 1, 2 and 3, good advice, contained in recommendation 4, and design and distribution obligations, with specific reference to recommendation 12.1, are those the JAWG identified as measures that will require a longer timeframe to implement.
“The JAWG looks forward to collaborating with the government on implementing much-needed change and collectively working towards our common goal of making quality financial advice accessible and affordable for more Australians,” it said.