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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Smarter Compliance. We understand the apprehension felt by Responsible Managers, Directors and Line Managers. With all the usual disclaimers and qualifications, we offer this brief summary of our understanding of the obligations, risks and liabilities. We’d love to hear your views.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Smarter Compliance. FASEA Code of Ethics is more a “set of principles and core values” than detailed rules, but it’s a principles based model that provides the parameters for ethical and professional conduct. It’s driven by admirable intent but the ambition and inchoate aspirations of the Code of Ethics threatens the sustainability of the profession it hopes to shape and confirm. This article ponders the inconsistency between the laws and the Code and highlights three ways that its more impractical provisions may affect the emerging advice profession.
Smarter compliance. Welcome to the April 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.
Smarter Compliance. In the current environment of declining margins, increased scrutiny and looming transformational change, it’s sometimes challenging to maintain enthusiasm and momentum. The key to both is being properly prepared. In a changing and complex environment, the secret to success is assured support. In this article, we offer you three resources that provide three compelling reasons to review, refine and improve your compliance arrangements. Take the opportunity now. If you need help, reach out.
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.
Smarter Compliance. On 22 February 2019, Treasury released exposure draft legislation titled Treasury Laws Amendment (Ending Grandfathered Conflicted Remuneration) Bill 2019 which, if ever introduced, passed and enacted, will prohibit the payment to financial advisers of grandfathering conflicted remuneration. These amendments could have a significant effect on the advice industry. However, there’s still time for consultation, so this article summarises the key issues and the challenges posed by the proposed regulations. It’s no substitute for specific legal advice, but it’s considerably cheaper and more accessible.
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.
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.
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.
Smarter Compliance. The new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Standards released by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority, provide useful guidelines for transforming the profession. Unfortunately, depending on your perspective, they were delivered either too late or too early for most licensees. One could complain, but, when you’re in mid-flight, your only real option is to adapt to the conditions and do everything you can to ensure you stick the landing. Sure, the flight metaphor is overworked but the article quotes David Bowie and is packed with the analysis and insights you need to operationalise these requirements. Hurry, 31 March 2019 will be here before you know it.
Smarter Compliance. Last month, the finalists for the 2019 Fintech Business Awards were revealed by Momentum Media, the publisher of Fintech Business. Assured Support was thrilled to be named as a finalist in two categories ("Compliance Innovator of the Year" and "Software Innovator of the Year"). We’ve simply been too busy delivering innovative compliance solutions to acknowledge the honour, but we appreciate that usefulness and effectiveness can sometimes offset the lack of a sales and marketing team. It's a strong field and one that shows the depth and quality of Australian FinTech Industry.
Smarter Compliance. It may be tempting for some Licensees to dismiss Fee-for-No-Service (FFNS) issues as problems for institutional businesses alone. The reality is quite different. Any business that receives fees or payments for ongoing service has an obligation to provide those services. This article outlines five (5) steps every Licensee should contemplate to identify and address any FFNS issues in their business.
Smarter Compliance. Since 23 February 2018, entities subject to the Privacy Act have had a legal obligation to record, manage and report ‘eligible data breaches’. If you were subject to the Australian Privacy Principles, you’re required to report data breaches but some Licensees may still be unfamiliar with their obligations. This post addresses the requirements, makes recommendations and provides some additional reading on data breaches.
Smarter Compliance. The elegance employed when drafting Regulatory Guide 146 Licensing: Training of Financial ProductAdvice 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.
Smarter Compliance. In their February 2019 Update, ASIC noted that “There are 12 recommendations that are directed at ASIC, or where the Government’s response requires action now by ASIC, without the need for legislative change. ASIC is committed to fully implementing each of these,” This article provides a high level view of the recommendations and ASIC’s responses.
Smarter Compliance. The Senate recently passed the Treasury Laws Amendment (Strengthening Corporate and Financial Sector Penalties) Bill 2018. It amends the Corporations Act 2001, Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001, National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 and Insurance Contracts Act 1984 and introduces a stronger penalty framework for corporate and financial sector misconduct.
Smarter Compliance. You may be aware, and the Royal Commission confirmed, that some Institutional Licensees appointed advisers that a more prudent Licensee would not have appointed. The difficulty, we were told, was that before the ABA published their 2018 protocols, there was no agreed process for reference checking. This post doesn’t dwell on the credibility of some licensees’ failures to adopt HB 322-2007 “Reference Checking in the Financial Services Industry” but instead offers three resources that might help those licensees committed to acting efficiently, honestly and fairly.