Michelle Levy

Finfluencers will be safe from Quality of Advice Review lead Michelle Levy’s proposals as long as they’re not giving personal advice.

Instead, she believes general consumer protections will be responsible for handling any misconduct.

Speaking on a webcast hosted by Professional Planner in partnership with AMP, Levy said her regulatory regime only covers finfluencers if they attempt to give personal advice.

“If they have subscribers and they have information about them then they might find themselves in the world of personal advice,” Levy said.

However, if finfluencers are only offering general recommendations or opinions, like budgeting tips that could apply to anyone, Levy said that will fall outside the scope of requiring a license.

“I know that alarms some people. I’d like them to think about the consumer protection regime that we have. It has very powerful misleading or deceptive conduct provisions. They would apply and are the most relevant laws that apply now to the conduct of finfluencers.”

Strong arm of the law

In March, the corporate regulator warned finfluencers it is in their best interest to have an Australian financial services license if they aren’t been remunerated.

Along with that proclamation, ASIC released an information paper identifying what is acceptable for unlicensed finfluencers to say.

Budgeting and other money saving tips are not going to be an issue for the regulator – even discussing products is fine as long as there are no recommendations.

However, recommending products or discussing potential returns from a product is a big no-no.

The moved was praised by the Financial Planning Association which it stated kills any concerns there will be a “two tiered approach” to regulation.