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.Read More
Smarter Compliance. As easy as it has been to highlight the ignorance and arrogance of some advice ‘leaders’, the reality is that their failings may have been exacerbated by compliance functions that were impotent, ignorant or lacking in courage. In fact, ASIC might add ‘compromised’ as a defining feature of some of these compliance functions. The sad truth is that ASIC was not alone in its criticism of compliance functions; both APRA and the Banking Royal Commission have echoed similar concerns and highlighted a need for the transformation of ‘compliance’. This article considers how burgeoning expectations about competency, capability and courage should apply to your compliance function.Read More
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.”Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Those that attended the 2018 ASIC Forum were left in no doubt that the most popular remedy for the harms done by the financial services industry, is increasing advisers' education and competency. Abandoning ASIC's previous focus on culture in favour of a new focus on competency, care and ethics, a succession of Presenters criticised the industry's lack of professionalism and asserted that a "greater level of professionalism" was needed to restore trust. While there's still an alarming lack of clarity it's apparent that Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority Limited (FASEA) is the blunt instrument intended to force the transformation of the advice industry.Read More
What the 2013 ASIC Stakeholder Survey, and our responses to it, say about us.