Posts in Compliance
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.

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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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"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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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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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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March to the beat of a different drum: Training, advice and legal.

Smarter Compliance. The elegance employed when drafting Regulatory Guide 146 Licensing: Training of Financial Product Advice and the flexibility afforded to Licensees by s 912a(1)(f) is too frequently ignored. This article explores the reasons why too many licensees never recognise the commercial and compliance opportunity presented to them by RG146 and looks at why that’s the case.

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Bridging the Gap: Best Interests and formal compliance

Smarter compliance. Best Interests. Safe Harbours. Client Priority. All the drama with the Royal Commission has distracted attention from the only issue that really matters - To what extent are advisers acting in their clients’ best interests. The short answer from us is that the best advisers have never wavered from their ethical and professional commitment to act objectively in the interests of their clients. For these advice professionals, the best interest duty, simply reconfirmed their approach to advice, service and care. This might not be the case for all advisers. This article explores these issues with reference to both the #BankingRC Final report and Hub24’s excellent 2019 report “The Adviser’s Best Interests Duty: Creating Better Advice.”

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"It's the end of the world as we know it": Three reasons to celebrate

Smarter Compliance. 2018 might have been an embarrassing, dramatic and traumatic year for the financial services industry (and the Commission’s Final Report is yet to come) but Compliance Professionals have had enough ‘gloom and doom’ for the moment. As 2019 lurches forward, we identify three ways that 2019 could be a very good year for compliance staff. Sure, you’ll still be over-worked and misunderstood but you may also start to be appreciated and valued. Work smart, seize these opportunities and you’ll transform your role and increase your influence. Good luck.

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The Great Divide: RG146, training and education

Smarter Compliance. In this guest post, education expert, Angelique Aksenoff, introduces the great divide in competency standards and asks “what will happen to RG 146 and Tier 2 advisers with the uplift to financial adviser education and training standards?”. Identifying that shifting Tier 2 standards will have a far more profound impact than many anticipate, the author explores the challenges and likely consequences of these essential reforms.

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Adviser Q&A: Product Replacement

Smarter compliance. Good advice, as Sean Graham explains, demands solutions driven by the clients’ best interests and supported by the adviser’s bona fide consideration of alternatives. Very poor advice, in my experience, often fails to prioritise the clients’ interests. Poor advice, on the hand, often results from a failure to rigorously, efficiently or fairly considering options. The safe harbour steps require advisers to research products they’re recommending as replacements (and those they’re recommending to be replaced) but some advisers still struggle with the requirement. This article answers some of the questions we get from advisers on product replacement.

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“Welcome to McDonalds”: Five Take-outs for advisers

NSG v ASIC aside, financial planners often struggle to find cases that clearly address their legal obligations and duties. Thankfully, McDonald v AMP Financial Planning Pty Limited [2018] QSC 195 addresses both the practice and process of financial planning and, as a consequence, highlights expectations that advisers need to adequately consider in their own businesses. Here we look at five key take-outs from McDonald’s case.

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Adviser Reviews: You can be the best

One of the most surprising insights from completing hundreds of adviser reviews, is the relatively small number of advisers who are interested in moving 'beyond compliance'. The challenge is compounded by risk. Some licensees use compliance results as part of a balanced scorecard or as the basis for bonuses and promotion. So improving the quality of advice, and getting a better review result, has additional benefits. Assured Support's risk and conduct-based methodology expects compliance and rewards quality, so to help make your journey a little easier, we'll share seven steps you should take to achieve better review results. 

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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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Assessing Licensee risk: "Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right"

Choosing a licensee is a big decision and one that needs to be made after assessing the risks the prospective licensee poses to you. The reality is that neither qualifications nor adviser mobility are the best indicators of 'Licensee risk'. They are not even reliable predictors. Unfortunately, the underlying causes of licensee risk can't be accurately divined from publicly available data, or at least not without considerable time, energy and insight. This looks at some common risk indicators before focusing on the real issue.

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Money for nothing (and the tricks are fees)

The Royal Commission into Misconduct in Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services exposed conduct - “fee for no service" - that shows contempt for both consumers and the law. Licensees' confected contrition aside, their ‘gold medal’ revenue generation strategies have further eroded their social capital and generated a wave of consumer outrage that is entirely justified. Unfortunately, those advisers that have worked hard to build sustainable businesses supporting their clients and servicing their needs, may find themselves collateral damage in this War of Accountability. This article looks at the FFNS issue, ASIC's response and proposes some immediate actions for advisers and licensees.

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"Giving hostages to fortune": Licensees, Advisers and the ties that bind them

Francis Bacon wrote “He that hath [a Licensee] has given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief” or at least he would have had he been entertained by the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. This article explores the acts and omissions of Licensees and the challenges facing licensees and advisers as a result of the Commission’s scrutiny of the financial services industry.

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Planning for 2018: Your Top Three 'Compliance' Priorities

If you’re a Licensee, Compliance Manager or Responsible Manager, you’re forgiven for feeling overwhelmed, fatigued and dispirited. The rate and extent of regulatory change, consistent and critical media coverage, increasing costs and declining revenues and the constant anticipation of regulatory intervention make a challenging job almost impossible. Even with the best of intentions, it's often difficult to prioritise activity when your capacity is consumed by reactive responses to unforeseen issues. This article addresses what we think should be your 'Top Three' priorities for 2018. 

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Don't look back in anger: Insights from a former adviser

In reality, financial planners and compliance reviewers have more in common than they realise; both understand the value of advice and both are committed to building an advice profession. I know this to be true because I've done both roles. Here are the lessons I learnt when transitioning from financial advice to regulatory advice and compliance. Don't look back in anger.

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Is your Licensee your greatest risk?

Advisers join Licensees for a variety of reasons - price, convenience, shared values and history - but underlying all these is the presumption that the advantages of joining a Licensee outweigh the disadvantages. What if that presumption is wrong? What if your Licensee's conduct is a far greater source of compliance risk to you then your own conduct? This article explores the risks implicit in the Licensee and proposes some practical ways to mitigate those risks.

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