FASEA education extensions promised to the financial advice industry are unlikely to be passed this week as hoped should the reintroduction of an amendment to the Bill proposed late on Monday remains, a spokesperson for Senator Hume office has confirmed.
The Australian Labor party’s proposed amendment to the Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 Measures No. 3) Bill 2019 late on Monday will likely keep the Bill from going before the Senate, Sentor Hume’s office and heads of the industry’s peak lobbying bodies have said.
“With legislative time at a premium this week, this back flip by Labor means the Bill simply won’t pass. At a time when access to financial advice is so important to Australians, this stunt is a poorly timed piece of politicking by Labor,” a spokesperson for Senator the Hon Jane Hume, Assistant Minister for Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and FinTech, told Professional Planner.
On Monday Jenny McAllister, Shadow Assistant Minister to the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate circulated a proposal to attach an amendment to ban conflicted remuneration relating to the sale of shares in listed investment companies and trusts (LIC/LITs). The LIC/LIC conflicted remuneration amendment was a policy supported by Shadow Assistant Treasurer MP Stephen Jones (pictured) and originally attached to the Treasury Laws Amendment Bill which contained the FASEA extensions, but removed before it was passed by the House of Representatives in February.
Reattaching the amendment now will almost certainly ensure the FASEA extensions won’t be passed, Senator Hume’s office has said.
“Financial advisers are right to be furious at Labor for this,” the spokesperson for Hume’s office added.
A spokesperson for Jones said his office had previously made “very clear” to the government and stakeholders this amendment would be reattached for the Senate to consider.
This message from Jones, however, was not relayed to these stakeholders or the industry more broadly.
“Disappointed is all I can say about Labor looking to add this at the eleventh hour,” said the FPA’s CEO Dante De Gori, who hosted Senator Hume on a webinar in which the FASEA extension was a topic of conversation late last week. De Gori added that while the FPA supported Labor’s position on LIC/LIT remuneration, he emphasised that “now is not the time or place to bring this to the process”.
“The LIC issue has nothing to do with adviser education, it has nothing to do with advisers trying to get some certainty about their futures,” said AFA CEO Phil Kewin, who condemned Labor for the late proposed amendment.
“There are not even any LICs going to market at the moment so there is no way this amendment is a burning issue,” Judith Fox, CEO of the Stockbrokers and Financial Advisers Association, said.
Fox added that the consultation process regarding LIC/LIT conflicted remuneration which was opened by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg following the tabling of the matter had not even been completed when the COVID-19 crisis escalated in March.
Senator Hume’s spokesperson said the Labor Senators had previously agreed the Treasury Laws Amendment Bill containing the FASEA extensions would be a “non-contro” Bill, meaning it would be deemed as non-controversial and therefore not take up valuable legislative hours in the senate during this small legislative window.
“Labor’s gone back on their word,” Hume’s spokesperson said. “It was listed as a non-contro Bill.”
In August last year Senator Hume announced the government would extend the the transitional time frame for the approved degree or equivalent qualification by two years to 1 January 2026, and for the time frame for the approved exam requirement to be deferred by one year to 1 January 2022.
FASEA CEO Stephen Glenfield and standards director Amelia Constantinidis will participate in a Q&A at this year’s Licensee Summit Digital event on June 2. See the agenda here and get your delegate pass before the early bird offer runs out.