Understanding compliance: The soundtrack

Most compliance people go through life with a song in their hearts and we’re no different (except are hearts and heads are stuffed with tangentially relevant pop music). Because no-one demanded it, we've made our playlist available to everyone. Our playlist contains every song referenced in our articles - even those you might not have identified. Enjoy the playlist and, if you find songs that we've omitted to include, please let us know.

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The writing’s on the wall: ASIC enforcement and focus

With the first half of the year now behind us, ASIC have recently released REP 585 (ASIC enforcement outcomes: January to June 2018). It highlights their activity in early 2018 (focusing on some notable successes) and looks forward to hint at what we can expect from them in the next six months. This article focuses on the report, ASIC’s plans for the remainder of 2018 and what they mean for Licensees and advisers.

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Design and Distribution Obligations: Better get a lawyer

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Design and Distribution Obligations and Product Intervention Powers) Bill 2018 may represent the most significant reform of financial services since the Financial Services Reform Act. The Bill threatens to reframe the development, distribution and enforcement of financial products and equips ASIC with a range of new enforcement options.This presentation provides a high level introduction to the Bill.

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And another thing, I've been wondering, lately

The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry has identified so many cultural, ethical and management failures that vertical dis-integration, Product Intervention Powers, BEAR and the imposition of Principal Integrity Officers are needed to restore trust. Ignoring current and proposed "regulatory catalysts", I'd suggest that re-defining 'Compliance' is a critical step to restoring trust and creating transparency and accountability.

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August Update: Ready to Spring

If you're focused on the future, and want to build a sustainable advice business, you'll want to find out more about openAFSL. You know that “minimal or technical compliance with the law” is not a worthwhile pursuit and, as a competent Licensee, you understand that regulatory technology is critical to you achieving that goal. OpenAFSL is the flexible and intuitive platform you need. Here’s why.

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ASIC and the limits of disclosure

Licensees and advisers have traditionally relied on disclosure as the solution for a range of regulatory, advice and legal risks. The fundamental problem is that disclosure is a spectacularly ineffective consumer protection mechanism. In the context of the Banking Royal Commission, both the Government and ASIC are focusing on trust, transparency and accountability as better alternatives to disclosure and equipping ASIC with the powers it needs to be active, feared and effective. In this context, the course of action for licensees and advisers is clear - less disclosure, more clarity.

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MDA Providers: Time for action

If you're an AFSL that wants to continue to operate as an "MDA Provider" and you don't already have the required authorisations, you'll need to have your licence varied. Assuming you're already authorised to advise and deal, you'll need to apply to vary your AFSL. Submitting the application for a variation isn't too difficult but remember that your application needs to be true, correct and complete (and supported by all the required mandatory information and proof documentation). This article curates the relevant material for you to consider and outlines five steps you should take now.

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ASIC, Distribution and Product Intervention

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Design and Distribution Obligations and Product Intervention Powers) Bill 2018 may represent the most significant reform of financial services since the Financial Services Reform Act. The Bill threatens to reframe the development, distribution and enforcement of financial products and equips ASIC with a range of new enforcement options.This presentation provides a high level introduction to the Bill.

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Anticipating ASIC: Get your house in order

In his recent speech “The trust deficit and superannuation, ASIC Chair James Shipton suggested three issues that Licensees need to address to restore trust and confidence in the financial services industry.

This post explores those suggestions in context, and outlines some practical steps Licensees should take in anticipation of future ASIC activity.

Take the time now to get your house in order.

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The challenges of growth: recruitment and reference checking

As a Licensee, you operate in a commercial environment subject to a range of legal, moral and social obligations. You, and the advisers you authorise, routinely act and make decisions that can significantly impact the lives and circumstances of your clients. As focused as you may be on growth, you need to discriminate; you cannot simply recruit without investigating, and assessing, the people you propose to authorise. Nor can you simply make a decision on the basis of information you have at hand or that offered to you by the potential recruit. This article outlines some practical ways to manage recruitment risks and access to some tools that might assist you.

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The rise and rise and rise of WPR Financial Strategists

Compliance training doesn’t have to be boring and bureaucratic. This three hour workshop is a case-study exploring the real challenges and issues in financial services. As employees and officers of “WPR Financial Strategists” participants are forced to identify, grapple with and resolve the reality of managing a financial services licensee.

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Industry recognition: Compliance and Thought Leadership

The ifa Excellence Awards are the only program benchmarking the success of the independent advice sector in Australia. In fact, most advisers regard ifa as the most trusted source of financial services news. We appreciate ifa recognising us for our thought leadership and other work - Compliance. Risk Management. Licensing. Adviser Reviews. Advice Coaching. Licensee Reviews. Due Diligence. Technology. Investigations. Remediation. Workshops. Dispute Resolution. Training. Policies and Standards. Presentations. 

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Review and remediation: "make it right"

Monitoring and Supervision, Consequence Management and Remediation are three elements of a compliance framework that best highlight, or expose, a Licensee’s capability and competence. Not only do they reveal fundamental aspects of a Licensee’s organisational competence but, more importantly, they expose its values, principles and standards.

This article examines explores ASIC’s views and provides tips for better results.

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Oughts and Crosses: The changing role of licensee management

2018 has been a tumultuous year for licensees and advisers. The introduction of the Life Insurance Framework, the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry and the collapse of Terry McMaster (followed quickly by the collapse of Dover) have buffeted an industry already reeling from prolonged media and political pressure. Assured Support engages with businesses and advisers across Australia and this gives us an enviable perspective of our industry. Here are our top five observations of, and predictions for, the financial services industry.

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FASEA's proposed exam: Looking for a complication

The popular view of acceptable 'training and education' for financial advice professionals seems to increase with each new licensee failure and public scandal. While most advisers admit the initial base was quite low,  expectations have increased dramatically. Now, with new education standards looming on the horizon, the landscape of financial advice looks to change forever. This is a great outcome for the emerging advice profession but FASEA’s proposed examination requires careful consideration.

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Managed Accounts Presentation

Managed Accounts are becoming increasingly popular, but some advisers (and compliance experts) struggle to understand the different options and how they’re regulated. This presentation is a modified version of one of our relevant training presentations. It focuses on Managed Discretionary Accounts but provides a useful overview of the topic. If you need more, contact us directly.

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Once more unto the breach (register), dear friends, once more

The Royal Commission has highlighted some curious processes followed by some of the larger licensees. Their laidback approach to breach reporting, in particular, has attracted the type of attention they might otherwise preferred to avoid. Breach reporting isn’t that difficult to grasp, but perhaps everyone needs a little help from time to time.

This post covers the key things you need to know and the What, Why, How and When of breach reporting.

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June Update: EOFY Specials

It's been a busy quarter for openAFSL. In addition to our usual program of continuous improvement, our capability has been bolstered by Kye's decision to help us free licensees from the burden of compliance. We're glad she's joined us to support the platform, help our clients and train our users to get the most out of openAFSL. This post addresses the key changes made in June SPOILER WARNING #Colour

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