It is “critically important” to hear the voice of existing clients as part of the Quality of Advice review, as the government has introduced “layers of bureaucracy” that do not consider the views of clients according to the Association of Financial Advisers.

The AFA used its submission on the QoA review consultation to highlight how existing clients have been left out of the regulatory process and given protections they didn’t ask for or benefit from.

Phil Anderson, AFA chief executive, tells Professional Planner listening to existing clients will help isolate the redundancies in the advice process.

“The most critical thing is this review needs to listen to the voice of existing clients and that needs to tie into the concept of doing a process re-engineering exercise,” Anderson says.

“The question is: do clients want those consumer protections that dictate they have to sign consent forms every year? It’s getting the balance right between consumer protection and balancing the cost of the process.”

An example the submission pointed to was the requirement for annual renewal and consent forms, which could result in clients having to sign multiple documents annually, without the flexibility to change when it occurs.

Anderson believes this leads into the idea of “process re-engineering”, and how every part of the advice process needs to broken down to highlight which parts work and what should be eliminated.

“Let’s have a look at what the process to give advice is and to maintain an advice relationship,” Anderson says.

“[Isolate] each of the individual steps and assess them in terms of whether it’s adding value to the client and whether it’s efficient or not.”

The submission highlights the financial services guide (FSG), which was useful before conflicted remuneration but became obselete once it was banned.

“It is appropriate to ask what the utility of an FSG for advised clients is now, especially given other disclosure documents which are provided,” the submission notes.