The opposition is seeking industry input on how accountants can be included in discussions around the provision of advice, noting their role has been overlooked in recent reviews of the sector.
Coalition treasury spokesman Angus Taylor said while the opposition supported the outcomes of the Quality of Advice Review headed by Michelle Levy, it was clear successive financial advice policy changes had negatively impacted the provision of advice to consumers and accountants could fill that space.
“Australians risk being seriously under advised and it will show over time and advice will have very high costs for those with an Australian investment portfolio or superannuation, and it’s a very serious problem,” Taylor said at the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand National SMSF and Financial Advice Conference 2023 late last year.
“We have around 16,000 financial advisers now, or about half of what there were, and the truth is some of those policies were put in place when we’re in government and we realised that one of the unintended consequences is that we do have a situation now where we need more advice, not less.
“Now we have this wonderful group of people that are incredibly experienced and know a lot about giving good financial advice in the accountants sector, some of them are licensed but many are not.
“They were not dealt with in the Levy review, but we’re very open to considering this.
“I have personally been consulting as widely as I can to get views on this issue because it does strike me that this is an underutilised resource and it’s one way we may be able to very quickly get more advice out there, but it has to be done right.
“We don’t want to see bad advice, but we do want to see enough good advice to ensure that Australians are in a position to make good investments for their retirement and for other reasons and accountants have a role to play in that.”
Following the government’s announcement that it would create a new class of financial adviser employed by banks, insurers and superannuation funds to address the lack of practitioners, Taylor said that model left the advice sector with a lack of regulatory certainty.
He added the opposition would closely examine the proposal, seeking any “deviations” from the review by the government, to ensure it provided good outcomes for consumers and that advice practitioners were included in future conversations about the provision of advice.