Scott Hartley

.A standardised system for fee consent forms has been backed by AMP, with the group arguing it is a necessary boost to adviser efficiency.

The fee consent regime officially commenced at the start of last financial year, and required advisers to obtain written consent from clients in order to deduct ongoing advice fees. Yet the lack of a uniform process has created headaches for advisers.

AMP Australian Wealth Management chief executive Scott Hartley tells Professional Planner the introduction of standardised fee consent forms would improve the accessibility of advice for consumers.

“Moving to a more uniform approach to fee consent arrangements would uplift client experience and accessibility with less time spent on paperwork, while boosting adviser efficiency and easing the administrative cost burden on financial advisers.”

The Quality of Advice Review issues paper indicated it would take feedback on the requirements for consent to deduct advice fees from superannuation accounts.

“The objective of this proposal is to create a uniform and standardised process so that clients only need to sign a limited number of forms to implement advice rather than the many forms from the licensee and issuers that are currently required,” the AMP submission stated.

No way OFA

AMP argued the advice market has divided into practices that are part of the Ongoing Fee Arrangement regime, including the giving of Fee Disclosure Statements and Renewal Notices, or those firms that are using Fixed Term Agreements.

“While there are some distinct differences, they provide consumer protection in that under both arrangements fees can be turned off at any time, there is an annual agreement process and all fees and the services provided are clearly disclosed,” the submission stated.

AMP pointed to the rollover process for superannuation funds that was introduced by the ATO as a potential precedent for fee consent standardisation.

Growing pains

ASIC released a guide two weeks ahead of the 1 July launch last year, while the legislative instrument was released around three months earlier.

Industry and consumer bodies pushed for standardised forms, flagging the issue last March before the regime started.

“The concern for us and the adviser community is if you have individualised forms for every product provider out there,” then Financial Planning Association CEO Dante De Gori said last March.