ASIC Commissioner Danielle Press

The corporate regulator has opened consultation on updates to its guidance on the prohibition on the hawking of financial products, in an effort to better understand how it can curb the potential for consumer harm when consumers are pushed into buying ill-suited financial products.

ASIC’s update regulatory guide to the anti-hawking reform, which is due to come into effect October 1, reflects reforms that were recommended in the final report of the Royal Commission, where Hayne said further changes were needed to protect consumers from products they didn’t need or want.

“These reforms strengthen and consolidate the three existing hawking prohibitions into a single prohibition covering all financial products,” said ASIC commissioner Danielle Press.

“The reforms take a technology neutral approach, meaning the ban applies to all forms of real-time communication. The prohibition incorporates for the first time a definition of unsolicited contact, requiring that consent given by a consumer be positive, voluntary and clear.”

ASIC is seeking public and industry comment on the reforms, which are designed to give consumers greater control over the circumstances in which they are offered products and prevent them from being harassed by unwanted products on cold calls and other methods of “unsolicited contact”.

“ASIC’s guidance gives additional clarity on how the changes may affect commercial practices, systems and processes,” Press said. “This will help industry prepare for compliance with the new regime once it commences.”

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. Contact at [email protected]
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