Jane Hume

Five weeks after the Single Disciplinary Body era began, the industry panel members that will deliberate sanctions for advisers have yet to be announced, with both ASIC and Treasury waiting on the financial services minister, Jane Hume, to complete the Financial Services and Credit Panel appointments.

The Government finally wrested control of the advice disciplinary function after pandemic delays, an ineffective period of licensee policing and the ultimate demise of FASEA last year, with the ‘peer review’ setup staring on January 1. ASIC’s website, however, still shows the same 16 FSCP ‘pool’ members that were released in July to make way for the new cohort.

These representatives will eventually sit down with ASIC to adjudicate on matters where the regulator doesn’t think a banning order is warranted, but “reasonably believes” an adviser has breached the Corporations Act.

Yet five weeks after the regime began, no one knows who they are.

ASIC remains in the dark, despite being set to house and operate the panel, with a source at the regulator saying it had “no say in it”, and would update the website when it had more details.

(Worth nothing was the clear frustration of ASIC commissioner Danielle Press in October last year when she said she still had no idea when panels would need to be convened.)

Treasury’s hands are similarly tied, with a representative at its media unit pointing out that job lies with Hume’s office.

“Appointments to the FSCP pool, and their timing, are a decision for the minister and the government, consistent with the experience and knowledge requirements set out in the legislation and the established process for making significant Government appointments,” Treasury stated.

The minister’s office did not respond for comment.

Clearing the mudmap

Replacing the original idea for adviser discipline – a code monitoring body – with a Single Disciplinary Body as per recommendation 2.10 from the Hayne royal commission was originally announced by Hume at Professional Planner‘s Licensee Summit in June 2020.

Hume called the peer review process “a part of the journey to becoming a profession” when the bill cementing the reform passed in October last year.

It was also promoted as a significant move to reduce regulatory oversight, along with the closure of FASEA and changes to Tax Practitioner Board requirements.

“When I first walked into this job the very first thing the industry bodies did was show me a mudmap of all the regulators that had their eyes on advisers,” Hume added. “It’s great to not only deliver the Hayne recommendations but also unwind some of that oversight.”