financial advice, Financial Planning

QAR receives subdued response

Quality Advice Review government response

The inherent flaws in the government’s approach to implementing the recommendations of the Quality of Advice Review have been called out.

The government’s response to the Quality of Advice Review report recommendations has received a lukewarm reaction from the document’s author, while other senior industry executives have called out weaknesses within the implementation process.

Speaking as a panellist at the SMSF Association Technical Summit 2023 on the Gold Coast today, Allens partner Michelle Levy said: “I’m pleased that [none of the recommendations] are off the table, I’m heartened by that and I’m really hoping the industry will support [the report] and argue the merits of it. So that bit I’m thrilled about.”

Levy was less enthusiastic towards Canberra’s approach that has seen the recommendations broken up into three streams, the first of which is about removing red tape that does not add to consumer protection, the second of which is about increasing the access to retirement income advice and the third being the exploration of new advice avenues.

“I think that they’re trying to do something really hard with stages two and three so I am keenly following what happens [there],” she revealed.

Fellow panellist SMSF Association chief executive Peter Burgess identified one particular aspect of the government’s response he was very pleased about.

“We were very pleased to see the government agree to those recommendations around fee consents. Using the minister’s own words, that is a ‘hot mess’, and for some of our members it’s a very hot mess that one,” Burgess noted.

However, he too was critical of Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones’s three-streamed approach to adopting the recommendations.

“If you look at stream one, they seem to be those recommendations the government is comfortable with. There are some recommendations in stream three which they’re not as comfortable with. It’s difficult to be able to implement the recommendations in stream one without implementing the recommendations in stream three,” he observed.

“These recommendations, I’m sure Michelle would agree, are interconnected and you can’t just [adopt] some without the others and I’m not sure that came out in the government’s response.”

Financial Services Council policy and advocacy executive director Spiro Premetis concurred the three-streamed approach to implementing the report findings was challenging.

“It’s really hard to unbundle the recommendations of the report and to look at [items] in isolation,” Premetis said.

Further, he acknowledged the industry’s response will now be crucial.

“The big thing I would call out is over the next three months when the government is finalising its response is the industry is going to have to play a really important role because if there is a lack of agreement across the industry, in October we might actually see a package that is wound back,” he said.

“So industry will have to do the heavy lifting for the government.”

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