Clockwise from top left: Michelle Levy, Alexis George, Renato Mota and Stuart Robert

August saw the release of the greatly anticipated Quality of Advice Review recommendations where lead Michelle Levy debuted her ‘good advice’ proposal.

“The financial services regime should require a person who provides personal advice to provide good advice,” Levy stated in the report.

“Good advice is advice that would be reasonably likely to benefit the client, having regard to the information that is available to the provider at the time the advice is provided.”

Instead of simplifying the prescriptive Statement of Advice and Record of Advice process – or using Letters of Advice as suggested by the Financial Services Council – Levy proposed scrapping them all together.

Cost of doing business

Insignia and AZ NGA announced acquisitions, the former acquiring an Israeli-based digital advice firm while the latter acquired an Australian-owned and Philippines-based back-office support firm.

The ex-ANZ licensee acquired by Insignia Financial and AMP’s Advice arm continued to see financial improvements.

“There were a lot of learnings that came out of ANZ and the team have done a terrific job there,” Insignia chief executive Renato Mota said, commenting on what the organisation learntfrom the ex-ANZ business to transform how they approach the financials of the MLC Advice business.

“In many ways, it’s a bit of rinse and repeat. Merging MLC Advice and Bridges is terrific; it creates a large-scale, mass-market advice model that we’ll continue to invest in but there’s still some ways to go to make sure we hit that sustainability target.”

Mea culpa

New shadow financial services minister Stuart Robert spoke at the Conexus Financial Retirement Conference, conceding the Coalition got it wrong on education and instead should have left it to the associations.

“FASEA occurred before me as assistant treasurer,” Robert said, acknowledging the regime made a number of errors.

“The legislation was poor, but the intent was good. The financial services industry had years and review after review to get its act together on education. The government overreached with FASEA and put in what was a bureaucratic nightmare, hence we got rid of it.”