The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has shed some light on how it will monitor new professional standards, including its role in overseeing compliance with the code of ethics.

In a panel session at the SMSF Association National Conference in Sydney, ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell reiterated the importance of lifting professional standards so consumers can trust financial advice.

As the regulator of advisers, Kell said, ASIC would play a significant role, of which many of the finer details have not yet been established. However, he did explain how the code of ethics, which all advisers will have to abide by from 2020 onwards, would be monitored.

“Under the new regime, advisers will have to belong to a complying code of ethics and that will require you to belong to a professional association or other third-party monitoring body, which will have a compliance scheme that’s been approved by ASIC,” Kell said. “That will be the key issue. We will have to see what the code of ethics looks like as it’s developed by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority…And then we’ll be approving those bodies that will want to administer a code of ethics and thereby allow your members to satisfy that requirement.”

The specific professional bodies that will monitor compliance are not known.

Kell said ASIC would also play a role in other information-based parts of the new standards, such as data about advisers on the public register.

“There are discussions to be had there,” he said. “We will be working closely with FASEA, we will be working closely with the industry associations, and we’ll be interested to see what that code of ethics looks like.”

Other items ASIC is taking a closer look at include accountants’ provision of SMSF advice in licensed and unlicensed environments, the recommendation of speculative trading and property spruiking.

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