Elders general manager Tony Beaven

Advisers will need to pay almost $1000 each as part of ASIC’s new industry funding model, with a representative for the regulator confirming invoices will be sent to licensees on Thursday.

The levy, part of an arrangement that became law on July, 2017, will require typical licensees to pay a minimum of $1500, plus $934 per adviser.

A spokesperson for the regulator said invoices for the levy should be sent “in the next few days”.

Licensees are believed to be largely passing on the cost of the levy to advisers, although some have facilitated payment plans to soften the burden. Tony Beaven, general manager of licensee Elders, says it took a proactive approach.

“We were aware of the ASIC levy right from the start and contacted advisers back in 2017,” Beaven says. “We then put measures in place to mitigate the anxiety and financial discomfort for advisers.”

Beaven explains that 67 advisers under the Elders licence were put on a payment plan to cover the expected costs, which will deflect any bill shock.

“It’s all sorted now,” he says. “The costs are taken care of.”

Peter Ornsby, chief executive of RI Advice Group, says the plan is to wait until more information has been received from ASIC and then work with advisers to chart the way forward.

“We’ll be catching up with our PAC (proprietors advisory council) on the 20th and 21st of February and that’s going to be high on the agenda,” Ornsby says. “We’ve always had a very strong consultation with advisers and proprietors on these issues. As more information’s coming through the pipeline, we’ll actually sit down with them and work it out.”

He points out that it will be incumbent upon licensees to keep advisers informed about the process, as mandated by ASIC.

“What we do is send our advisory council an information pack they can pre-read so we’re all completely informed and can have a robust discussion,” he notes.

Entity metrics

Financial services industry levies became law after a recommendation from the 2014 Murray Financial System Inquiry that government recover the costs of regulatory activities “directly from industry participants through fees and levies calibrated to reflect the cost of regulating different industry sectors”.

Jonathan Steffanoni, principal consultant at QMV, says the transition from using general tax revenue to pay for financial regulation to using industry funding has an “underlying policy position” that the industry itself should cover the costs, “not everyday taxpayers”.