Regtech: The future of advice

Smarter Compliance. The US Department of Justice asks three fundamental questions when reviewing corporate compliance programs 1. Is it well designed 2. Is it implemented effectively 3. Does it work in practice. We believe that local Regulators take a similar approach and this underpins our conviction that regulatory technology - like OpenAFSL - is the future of advice. You may have a different view but this article contains arguments that should convince any reasonable Licensee that we’re right.

Read More
AFSL Fundamentals: Self-licensing

Smarter Compliance. As 2019 draws to a close, many advisers (and some licensees) are being forced to consider their futures. It’s a daunting task given the costs, consequences and implications of any decision they make. An increasing number of advisers think that self-licensing will provide them with the autonomy, financial security and other benefits they need to properly serve their clients. In this article we’ll try to sublimate our self-interest and provide the relevant information advisers need to decide whether self-licensing is an option for them.

Read More
Hang on: Reacting to FASEA exam results

Smarter Compliance. After months of apprehension and uncertainty, almost 600 advisers sat the inaugural FASEA exam and over 90% passed. This result would normally be interpreted as a positive one, but many people have simply seized on the result and dismissed the exam entirely. The high pass rate may be reassuring, disappointing, both or neither but there’s a high chance that it can be misleading. This article explains why most advisers should continue to prepare for a challenging examination of their knowledge and capability.

Read More
The cost of conduct risk

Smarter Compliance. Rep 515 “Financial advice: Review of how large institutions oversee their advisers” is the gist that keeps on giving. While it’s a gift that many would have returned immediately, there’s little doubt of its influence on the financial services industry - directly and as magnified by the Royal Commission. While it led to extensive changes in the financial advice industry including fragmentation, re-alignment and the increasingly definite separation of advice from product, it has reinforced the significant costs and obligations associated with providing advice. This article avoids prediction in favour of a simple discussion of the latest update and its implication for independent Licensees.

Read More
Focusing on better advice

Smarter Compliance. One of the critical failures of the compliance function is its tendency to identify and publish failures rather than promote and encourage better practices. Their reasons are understandable, but focusing on failures does a disservice to those advisers looking for practical ways to exceed minimum standards. In a break with Compliance’s standard operating procedure, this article will focus on five ways that advisers transcend compliance. Based on our review of 3,000 advice files, we’ve identified the consistent and considered practices great advisers adopt.

Read More
AFSL Fundamentals: A quick guide to Professional Indemnity

Smarter compliance. While disclosure and effective governance may assist you to secure Professional Indemnity Insurance, securing adequate cover requires vigilance and careful consideration. We explore the minefield of Professional Indemnity Insurance with the expert guidance of Greg Hansen, Director of Professional Risks at Austbrokers Countrywide. This guide for Licensees may assist you to both understand ASIC’s requirements and your Licensee obligations. It may also help you find better cover. 

Read More
An auditor's view of conflicted advice (SMSF)

Smarter Compliance. The conflicts between interests and duties was an issue frequently touched on by the Royal Commission. In fact, observers might suggest that all the misconduct and mismanagement exposed was caused by conflicts of these sort. In this article, an auditor tackles the issue form a practical perspective and explores the best way to handle conflicts of interest and duty.

Read More
Competence, Capability and Courage

Smarter Compliance. Assured Support has long argued for the need to collectively develop a capability framework for the compliance staff. Luckily, we are laser focused on this, and have developed a capability framework covering both technical and non-technical skills. This article looks at the reasons why this is necessary and provides a structured path forward.

Read More
Care Factor?: FASEA's view of "Client Care and Practice"

Smarter Compliance. Professional advisers understand that they’re now required to commit to a programme of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) that is consistent with FASEA’s requirements to “develop, maintain and apply a high level of relevant knowledge and skills”. Standard 10 of the FASEA Code of Ethics articulates expectations reinforced by FASEA’s FPS004 CPD Policy outlining mandatory competency areas. One of those competency areas is “Client Care and Practice”. We’ve been deluged by advisers asking what this means in practice. In addition to offering Licensees a practical perspective this article outlines how an innovative reg-tech compliance platform, OpenAFSL, can optimise their approach.

Read More
June Update: Onward, ever upward

Smarter compliance. Welcome to the July 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.

Read More
Curated Content: AI and ethics

Smarter Compliance. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning have had less immediate impact than some participants predicted, but they're also likely to have a more profound impact over time than other participants expect. If you’re fascinated by AI but terrified of Skynet, these reports may provide you with the reassurance and false confidence you need.

Read More
Westpac and the Laws of (advice) Robotics

Smarter Compliance. The financial advice market is, depending on your perspective, either evolving or being disrupted. Technology - digital advice - presents a compelling alternative to the expense and risk of traditional distribution models. But, before we despair about the unfairness of replacing advisers with computers and algorithms (or celebrate the emergence of an objective and unbiased advice service) it’s important to appreciate that the models have similar issues and that while the nature of regulation may change, it’s as essential as it is now.

Read More
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.

Read More
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. 

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More