Culture, capability and comparison

Smarter Compliance. Compliance used to be a simple process of ‘box ticking’ and commercial obstructionism but now it’s expected to embrace ethics, efficiency and ‘culture’. As the compliance function broadens its focus ,and secures its footing as a practitioner of a strategic management discipline, Compliance Managers are being asked to define or articulate the rules and values against which their business will be assessed. The difficulty is that it’s extraordinarily difficult to assess culture. This article provides eight points that might suggest a good compliance culture.

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Management and Consequence Management

Smarter Compliance. The Regulators’ focus on large institutions, and APRA’s self-assessment initiative, identified consistent deficiencies in the way Licensees respond to incidents, breaches and non-compliance. Consequence Management is not a complete solution (monitoring, supervision and remediation are equally important) but focusing on consequence management is an effective and efficient way to create and maintain a good corporate 'culture'. Properly applied, it may also spare you adverse publicity. 

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No "bad moon rising": The FASEA Exam

Smarter Compliance. Some advisers seem to fear the FASEA exam even more than the inevitable Zombie apocalypse. Their apprehension is understandable but only legitimate if they ignore their deep, practical understanding of the the financial services laws and the challenges of dealing with retail clients. Any adviser currently authorised by a responsible Licensee should have the the knowledge and the practical wisdom they need to satisfy FASEA. This article addresses advisers’ apprehension and provides some tips for managing it.

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Where FASEA gets it right: Training and Competency

Smarter Compliance. Effective education and ongoing training is the bedrock of every profession. So how can an advice profession emerge from an industry that prefers validation and convenience over development, engagement and deliberate practice? In our view, it can’t. In this article, we explore Continuing Professional Development from a different perspective - the sustainability of advice businesses - and argue that FASEA are right to push for tailored, engaging and challenging CPD.

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APRA, risk and ‘boiling frogs’

Smarter Compliance. In May 2019, APRA released an Information Paper reporting on the results of self-assessments performed by 36 financial institutions. Focusing on governance, accountability and culture, the responses indicated that CBA is not an outlier and that the issues that exposed them to public and regulatory criticism, are also present in their competitors and peers. Perhaps, the only differences are time and orders of magnitude. This article references the report and offers suggestions to those Licensees hoping to improve their culture, governance and compliance framework.

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A Change is Gonna Come: ASIC in action

Smarter Compliance. ASIC’s report 615 “ASIC Enforcement Update July to December 2018” provides a snapshot of the prosecutions, bannings and investigations they undertook. It’s an impressive list but is, in our view, a low water-mark for 2019 activity. With increased funding, a bigger and better toolkit and a renewed willingness to act, ASIC seem to be better positioned to effectively, efficiently and consistently regulate the financial advice industry. Expect a king-tide of regulatory activity in 2019.

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Wants, needs and common confusion: distinguishing between goals and objectives

Smarter Compliance. Your client’s goals and objectives are the foundation on which great personal advice is built. Unfortunately, they are too often confused, used incorrectly or relegated in importance behind a client’s risk profile.  This article explains the difference between Goals and Objectives and provides some simple tips to avoiding common failures.

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Regulatory "jazz hands": FASEA's Code of Ethics

Smarter Compliance. FASEA Code of Ethics is more a “set of principles and core values” than detailed rules, but it’s a principles based model that provides the parameters for ethical and professional conduct. It’s driven by admirable intent but the ambition and inchoate aspirations of the Code of Ethics threatens the sustainability of the profession it hopes to shape and confirm. This article ponders the inconsistency between the laws and the Code and highlights three ways that its more impractical provisions may affect the emerging advice profession.

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April Update: Coaching, comparison and clarity

Smarter compliance. Welcome to the April 2019 update. We have big news. The financial service industry is highly regulated and surprisingly dynamic. Thankfully, the team behind our industry-leading compliance platform ensures openAFSL evolves even quicker. Regulators know that there’s a serious gap between what the law requires and what most Licensees manage to do - openAFSL helps you bridge that gap at a reasonable cost.

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Easter Reading: Greased Pigs and "damned fine coffee"

Smarter Compliance. In the current environment of declining margins, increased scrutiny and looming transformational change, it’s sometimes challenging to maintain enthusiasm and momentum. The key to both is being properly prepared. In a changing and complex environment, the secret to success is assured support. In this article, we offer you three resources that provide three compelling reasons to review, refine and improve your compliance arrangements. Take the opportunity now. If you need help, reach out.

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"A game of snakes and ladders": FASEA, degrees and equivalent qualifications

Smarter Compliance. In a previous article we discussed Continuing Professional Development requirements under the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA). In this article, we’re focusing on qualifications and, in particular, the completion of a bachelor or higher degree, or equivalent qualification, approved by the standards body. FASEA’s requirements appear deceptively simple, but the path to compliance with their requirements can conceal dead-ends, reversals and unanticipated complexity. Assured Support can guide you through.

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The end of grandfathering: Conflicts, the Constitution and Compulsory Acquisition

Smarter Compliance. On 22 February 2019, Treasury released exposure draft legislation titled Treasury Laws Amendment (Ending Grandfathered Conflicted Remuneration) Bill 2019 which, if ever introduced, passed and enacted, will prohibit the payment to financial advisers of grandfathering conflicted remuneration. These amendments could have a significant effect on the advice industry. However, there’s still time for consultation, so this article summarises the key issues and the challenges posed by the proposed regulations. It’s no substitute for specific legal advice, but it’s considerably cheaper and more accessible.

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Advice in 2019: Where too much change is never enough

Smarter Compliance. 2019 is shaping up to be a great year for financial services lawyers, business brokers and stress counsellors. Advisers have long accepted that the financial services industry is highly regulated and frequently changing, but the sheer scale and speed of reforms planned for 2019 is potentially overwhelming. We can’t do much about the rate of change, but we can alert you to the recently released Consumer Data Right rules, warn you about proposed changes to the Privacy Act to better protect (vulnerable) consumers and prepare you for the impact of new Design and Distribution obligations.

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Our Gap Year: Comprehension, Compliance and Capacity.

Smarter Compliance. In March 2019, ASIC released Report 614 titled “Financial advice: Mind the gap” summarising their research into consumer understanding of the differences between general and personal advice. No responsible licensee would be surprised to learn that ASIC’s research identified “substantial gaps in consumer comprehension”. These weren’t the only gaps that concerned ASIC and this article also considers ASIC’s response to AMP Financial Planning and SMSF Advisers Network.

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Banking on fear: ASIC's new focus

Smarter Compliance. The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry may not have delivered Bankers in handcuffs but its legacy is likely to be more profound. The criticism ASIC attracted for embracing deference over deterrence and their timidity and ineffectiveness was painful for those of us that value compliance, obey the law and recognise the need for a fearless, effective and consistent regulator. ASIC endured the public criticism and have emerged with a renewed vigour and with the people, powers and purpose they need to restore confidence and deter misconduct. This article addresses the relevant changes and their implications. We also offer seven immediate priorities for Licensees looking down the barrel of these changes.

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FASEA: Changing CPD requirements mid-flight

Smarter Compliance. The new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Standards released by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority, provide useful guidelines for transforming the profession. Unfortunately, depending on your perspective, they were delivered either too late or too early for most licensees. One could complain, but, when you’re in mid-flight, your only real option is to adapt to the conditions and do everything you can to ensure you stick the landing. Sure, the flight metaphor is overworked but the article quotes David Bowie and is packed with the analysis and insights you need to operationalise these requirements. Hurry, 31 March 2019 will be here before you know it.

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Fintech Business Awards 2019

Smarter Compliance. Last month, the finalists for the 2019 Fintech Business Awards were revealed by Momentum Media, the publisher of Fintech Business. Assured Support was thrilled to be named as a finalist in two categories ("Compliance Innovator of the Year" and "Software Innovator of the Year"). We’ve simply been too busy delivering innovative compliance solutions to acknowledge the honour, but we appreciate that usefulness and effectiveness can sometimes offset the lack of a sales and marketing team. It's a strong field and one that shows the depth and quality of Australian FinTech Industry. 

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ASIC Update: Fees-for-no-service (FFNS)

Smarter Compliance. It may be tempting for some Licensees to dismiss Fee-for-No-Service (FFNS) issues as problems for institutional businesses alone. The reality is quite different. Any business that receives fees or payments for ongoing service has an obligation to provide those services. This article outlines five (5) steps every Licensee should contemplate to identify and address any FFNS issues in their business.

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Don't forget to tell: Mandatory Data Breach Notification laws

Smarter Compliance. Since 23 February 2018, entities subject to the Privacy Act have had a legal obligation to record, manage and report ‘eligible data breaches’. If you were subject to the Australian Privacy Principles, you’re required to report data breaches but some Licensees may still be unfamiliar with their obligations. This post addresses the requirements, makes recommendations and provides some additional reading on data breaches.

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