Will Hamilton, Julie Berry and Brad Fox.

The representative pool of members for the new Financial Services and Credit Panel (FSCP) has almost doubled in size from 16 to 31 members, as the industry’s new Single Disciplinary Body (SDB) swells to accomodate its expanded role.

Only five legacy members from the old pool will be part of the new FSCP’s rotation, however, with 11 names cut from the original list and a host of new appointees added.

Financial services minister Jane Hume named the appointees in a media release Monday night, six weeks after the SDB was scheduled to commence.

Former Tax Practitioners Board director Julie Berry and high-profile adviser Will Hamilton were among the major names announced, while former AFA chief executive Brad Fox joined other returning members Gabrielle Bouffler, Donald Crellin, Bruce Debenham and Jennifer Diggle.

The pool represents a mix of accountants, financial and risk advisers, compliance specialists, stockbrokers and industry executives.

No ethics consultants were appointed to the panel, however two timeshare advice executives were appointed; Wyndham Clubs Gary Croker and Gary Toomey.

Wyndham is Australia’s largest timeshare operator, but lost 260 advisers – from 373 to 113 – between 2018 and 2021 according to the 2021 Professional Planner Licensee Owners List.

The timeshare industry has been an area of concern for ASIC, with reports that “completely generic” statements of advice are being used.

Taking back control

The demise of FASEA and ineffective licensee policing led to the government taking direct control of the advice disciplinary function from the start of 2022.

The FSCP as the single disciplinary body was legislated in place when the Better Advice Bill passed last October, with breaches of the Code of Ethics that don’t warrant a banning by ASIC to be heard by a panel of industry peers appointed by the minister.

ASIC is responsible for convening individual panels to consider disciplinary matters, which must include an ASIC staff member as chair and two of the 31 ministerial appointments.

The code was originally to be policed by a monitoring body, until Hume revealed the creation of the SDB which would supplant the existing code monitoring plan.

Hume said the SDB would help unwind some of the regulatory oversight on advisers.

“How many regulators can go into a financial adviser’s office and audit them in a one-year period is quite extraordinary,” Hume said at the Conexus Financial 2020 Licensee Summit.

“I am actually surprised some financial advisers don’t spend their lives being audited,” she continued. “We actually want to reduce the number of organisations that can infiltrate and impose on a financial adviser’s business so they can get on with what they do best.”

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