Posts tagged Advice
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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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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Insurance within SMSF: Five key considerations

Smarter compliance. In a previous newsletter, we addressed five common errors  in Self-managed Super Fund advice. We also included some frightening statistics surrounding the level of trustee knowledge, and the adviser’s role in the advice process. In this article, a former adviser draws on his experience to nominate five critical considerations (and accompanying ballads) that deserve closer consideration.

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Change or be changed: The challenge for advice

Smarter Compliance. This year will be a challenging and momentous year. Change may be inevitable and irresistible, but it needn’t be fatal. The better licensees and advisers have already separated themselves from the pack and started to transform themselves to succeed in the new environment. This article explores what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Don’t be left behind.

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Getting to the right place: Research and Approved Product Lists

Smarter Compliance. The business of financial advice is hard. In addition to a range of legal and professional obligations, the complexity of individuals’ specific needs and the challenge of regulatory arbitrage, Licensees and Advisers are expected to be well-informed about an ever increasing number of financial products and platforms. Consistently providing appropriate financial product advice is an insurmountable challenge unless the Licensee has an effective research process and a well constructed APL. In this article, we answer a user’s questions on the role and use of the APL.

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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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Why most SMSF advice sucks: Five common errors

Smarter Compliance. Since their introduction in 1999, the popularity of the SMSF has remained relatively constant despite the ups and downs experienced within the share market, housing market and industry. We review a lot of advice. While our experience with SMSF doesn’t entirely accord with ASIC’s view that 90% of SMSF advice is ‘poor’, we have noticed some common issues in the advice we have reviewed. This article discusses five elements you need to address to ensure that your SMSF advice doesn’t “suck”.

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The examined life: FASEA, facts and the future of advice

Smarter Compliance. We are now on the eve of the implementation of the Corporations Amendment (Professional Standards of Financial Advisers) Act. FASEA and this legislation will significantly change the training, education and ethical standards for financial advisers and reshape the advice profession. This article explores the significance of the proposed change in education standards, maps out the practical differences and draws on similar examples to highlight the facts that advisers will need assured support to weather these changes.

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Advice, file-notes and adverse inferences

Despite the emphasis on regulated documents, and the increasing use of technology, advice has an oral foundation. Unfortunately, memory is imperfect. In reality, a failure to appropriately document client conversations, answers or agreements can challenge your credibility and expose you to additional risk. Poor file-noting may not be fatal for you, but in the event of a claim or dispute, courts may draw adverse inferences from scant or non-existent file-notes. This article addresses these risks and suggests ways you can avoid undercutting your professionalism or prejudicing your defence.

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September Update: Connections, Conduct and Coding

Smarter compliance. We live in interesting times. While many participants are intimidated by the Royal Commission and ASIC’s Report 594, we just kept coding to ensure that OpenAFSL continues to deliver on its promise. We crushed it in September. The full list of tweaks, enhancements and innovations would overwhelm you but, in this article, we’ll cover some of the main ones.

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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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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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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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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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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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"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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Honesty, integrity and best interests

If you're an advice professional, you know that misconduct, mismanagement and consistently critical media coverage has undermined confidence in our industry and led calls for increased regulation. We have the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry and, recently, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission pursued two high profile matters based, to a large degree, on the Licensees' failures to ensure that their representatives complied with the law and complied with their 'best interest' duties. In this article we take a constructively critical look at the duty, the conduct that necessitated it and the practicalities of satisfying your professional duties. (Hint - disclosure is not enough).

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