Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority chief executive Stephen Glenfield gave his first public address to explain the proposals in FASEA’s standards summary, released last week, and emphasised that the authority was open to changing the proposed rules.

Speaking at the Financial Planning Association 2018 Professionals Congress in Sydney this morning, Glenfield – who took over from interim chief executive Mark Brimble in September – said coming to the final framework was a matter of determining what felt right and then working with the community to fine-tune the proposals.

“We form a view on what we think is right and then we put that out to stakeholders,” Glenfield explained. “We then listen to what’s coming back so that we can nuance it in a way that will hopefully work for industry but doesn’t pull back from what we’re there to achieve.”

After briefing the full house of FPA members on the proposals for 15 minutes, Glenfield sat for a 20-minute Q and A session with FPA chief executive Dante De Gori, who asked how much change Glenfield thought “realistically will be made to those legislative instruments”.

“I’m open-minded on it,” Glenfield replied. “I’m open to what will come back. I’ve said I’m listening and we are listening.”

FASEA will keep the consultation lines open on the legislative instruments for between two and four weeks, “depending on the standard and the complexity of the issues”. The education pathways standard, for example, will be open to submissions for three weeks from the November 19 release date.

Glenfield added that the aim was to have the final instruments made “before the end of the year”. Given the short turnaround required, there will be little time to waste.

“We will take those responses to consultation and distil them as they’re coming in. It’s not like we’re going back at the end of the period and then doing something, we’ll distil as they come in,” he explained.

‘Misinformed poets’

During his address, Glenfield acknowledged that the consultation process had been somewhat of a rocky road.

“We’ve worked hard to address and simplify this complex challenge, operating in an environment of divergent, sometimes passionate, and occasionally misinformed, poets of market discussion regarding our task.”

Despite there being “a lot of noise around FASEA”, Glenfield asserted that all of the feedback was welcome.

“I wish to reiterate that the standards authority acknowledges and appreciates the considered feedback received from a wide spectrum of the advice profession and industry, the education sector and, of course, consumer points of view,” he said. “Those voices have been heard and they continue to be heard. It has been a careful focus of FASEA to incorporate the breadth of this consultation into its final standards and we’ll continue to listen to consultation as we move towards final standards.”

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Tahn Sharpe is a Sydney-based financial services journalist with a background in financial planning. He writes on advice, superannuation, investment, banking and insurance issues, is a certified SMSF Adviser and holds an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning.