The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will issue written guidance in the coming weeks which seeks to clarify how the temporary relief issued to superannuation funds around limited advice affects financial planners.
Deborah Koromilas, senior executive leader of ASIC’s stakeholder team for financial advisers, says there has been some confusion around the “no action” letter sent to super funds early November, enabling them to provide limited financial guidance to members.
“Off the back of meetings [with the industry] there was the decision that there was not the need for relief in the financial planning space… but there was in superannuation,” she told delegates at the FPA National Conference on the Gold Coast.
“There’s a bit of confusion about what the relief granted to superannuation trustees actually meant. There’s a real need for some clarification to help planners deal with clients. In order to get to a large number of people, it’s better to put something in writing.”
Koromilas urged planners to really think about the advice they are providing and construct statements of advice that reflect that advice.
“I think the key at this point in time is to focus on what your advice actually is,” she says.
“We want you to provide advice that makes sense once documented,” she says.
According to Koromilas, ASIC’s top priorities going forward include: focusing on the quality of and access to advice; and monitoring and supervision at a licensee level.
Deen Sanders, deputy chief executive of the FPA, described the last six months as a “wild ride” for financial planners, but said Australia was in a different position as a consequence of regulation, “perhaps because we have absorbed much of the regulatory change already”.
He said the client-facing nature of financial planning put “extraordinary pressures on the industry” when it comes to regulation.
Koromilas says the commission wants planners to focus on their clients and their clients’ circumstances, and applauded the work of dealer groups in aiding them in this process.