financial advice, Financial Planning

Industry raises concerns with Jones

Financial practitioners from six industry bodies have put forward their view on advice changes to the government in a series of forums with Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones.

Members of six professional bodies have raised concerns about the Quality of Advice Review (QAR) and the increased Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) financial adviser levy with Assistant Treasurer and Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones at a series of open industry events in Queensland, according to the Financial Advisers Association Australia (FAAA).

The FAAA revealed, when asked about the government’s consultation process on the QAR and the timeline for implementing the stream one measures, Jones expressed his desire for the legislation to strike a balance and not be overly rigid, emphasising the importance of stakeholders’ input in achieving this objective.

“The minister said he wants to ensure that the legislation is not too prescriptive. He and his team are very aware of the need to involve all stakeholders early, including licensees and the regulator, in designing a solution that will achieve the goals,” FAAA chief executive Sarah Abood shared.

“Many questions were also asked about the stream two reforms and how the government envisages that superannuation funds will deliver a potentially broader advice offering to members via non-relevant providers.

“The minister said that he sees transition-to-retirement advice as an area of high unmet need and a priority to solve. He has heard loud and clear some of the concerns and need for safeguards around the complexity of this advice, the qualifications of those delivering it and the impacts of collective charging.”

Jones was also queried about the increase in the ASIC financial adviser levy and the experienced pathway legislation for financial advisers, given the recent trend of advisers leaving the profession and concerns regarding providing affordable advice to consumers.

“[The financial adviser levy] issue was proactively raised by attendees at every event and the minister has now heard the concerns very clearly directly from those most affected. We continue to engage intensively on this matter as we believe that even under the current industry funding model, there could be ASIC costs that have been incorrectly attributed to our sector,” Abood said.

“Discussion also touched on the experience pathway legislation now in parliament, which the minister is hopeful will assist. There were questions around education requirements more broadly, in the context of specialisations, and recognition of the differences between advisers focused in areas such as personal risk or stockbroking, versus those providing holistic/comprehensive advice.”

The events were co-hosted by six associations from the Joint Associations Working Group – Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand, CPA Australia, FAAA, Financial Services Council, Institute of Public Accountants and Stockbrokers and Investment Advisers Association – and took place across three days in Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns earlier this week.

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