The response addresses 3 objectives: remove regulatory red tape that adds to the cost of financial advice without benefiting consumers, expand access to retirement income advice, and explore new channels for advice.
In order to remove regulatory red tape that adds to the cost of advice without benefiting consumers the Government has agreed to:
• remove the “Safe Harbour” steps from the Best Interest Duty, with consultation to determine implementation details and the implications of accepting further recommendations for a new statutory best interests duty.
• Ongoing fee renewal and consent requirements will be streamlined into a single form, and the requirement to provide a fee disclosure statement will be removed.
• Statements of Advice will be replaced with an advice record that is more fit-for-purpose, with consultation to determine the final design of the replacement.
• More flexibility will be provided in how financial service guide requirements can be met.
• Standardised consumer consent requirements will be introduced to classify a consumer as a wholesale or sophisticated client
• Certain exemptions to the ban on conflicted remuneration will be simplified and some removed, including:
– clarifying that monetary or non-monetary benefits given by a client are not conflicted remuneration along with the removal of consequential exceptions;
– removing an exception to conflicted remuneration rules for the issue of financial products where advice has not been provided in the previous 12 months; and
– removing an exception to conflicted remuneration rules for agents or employees of Australian Authorised Deposit-Taking Institutions.
• Standardised consumer consent requirements will be introduced for life, general and consumer credit insurance commissions.
To expand access to retirement income advice the Government has agreed to:
• amend the restrictions on collective charging to allow superannuation funds to provide more retirement advice and information to their members.
• Superannuation trustees will be provided with legal clarity around current practices for the payment of adviser service fees.
The Government has agreed to explore expanding the provision of advice by other institutions by consulting industry and consumer stakeholders on recommendations to:
• Broaden the definition of personal advice
• Remove the general advice warning
• Allow non-relevant providers to provide personal advice
• Introduce a good advice duty
• Amend the Design and Distribution Obligations
This consultation will also finalise implementation details for:
• the design of the replacement for Statements of Advice
• the Financial Adviser Code of Ethics and
• expanding access to affordable retirement advice.
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Author: David Jacobson
Principal, Bright Corporate Law
About David Jacobson
The information contained in this article is not legal advice. It is not to be relied upon as a full statement of the law. You should seek professional advice for your specific needs and circumstances before acting or relying on any of the content.