Financial planners who are members of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) or the Investment and Financial Services Association (IFSA) will no longer be able to accept any alternative remuneration or ‘soft dollar’ benefits linked to product or volume sales under a Code of Practice to be adopted from 1 August 2004.
The Code of Practice on Alternative Remuneration in the Wealth Management Industry, has been formally adopted by the FPA and IFSA.
FPA CEO Kerrie Kelly said: “Taken together, these FPA initiatives address all of the 11 categories of what the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) referred to as soft dollar benefits in the June 2004 research report, Disclosure of soft dollar benefits.
“The Code of Practice on Alternative Remuneration becomes an integral part of the FPA’s Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct from 1 August with a transition period to 1 January 2005 for full compliance.
“Our members will no longer be able to accept free travel and accommodation at conferences based on the volume of sales of a manufacturer’s product, computer hardware or office accommodation, cash or gifts of any sort over the value of $300. Other benefits will need to be disclosed on public registers to be established by FPA Principal members.
“Compliance with the Code, and with the Rebates Guideline once adopted, will be monitored and any complaints against FPA members fully investigated. Where breaches are upheld, details will be published on the FPA website”, Ms Kelly said.