Michelle Levy (left) and Stephen Jones

The government will consult on the final proposals of the Quality of Advice Review and Professional Planner will host financial services minister Stephen Jones at three financial advice industry update sessions in March where he can hear directly from the profession.

The government released advice review lead Michelle Levy’s final proposals on Wednesday morning.

“Anyone with an interest in financial advice should read it and make their views known,” Jones said in a media release.

“We want to see an industry with strong professional standards that’s accessible for more Australians and look forward to hearing views on achieving that goal.”

Professional Planner will host Jones in an industry Q&A on 13 March in Sydney, 14 March in Brisbane, and 16 March in Melbourne.

Levy made 22 recommendations overall, most notably suggesting amending the Corporations Act that personal advice must be provided by a relevant provider if the provider is an individual and either gets paid a fee by the client for the advice or the issuer of the product pays a commission.

In all other cases, personal advice can be provided by a person who is not a relevant provider, which is likely to cause friction with the minister’s goal of keeping super funds and banks away from bringing back conflicted advice models.

General advice should continue to be a financial service, she proposed, but the requirement for a general advice warning to accompany general advice should be removed.

The duty to give ‘good advice’ is still a key recommendation, which will function as a principles-based version of the best interest industry duty.

The existing duty and related obligations have been recommended to be replaced with a new statutory best interests duty. The new duty would be “a true fiduciary duty” that reflects the general law and will not include a safe harbour.

Levy maintained her position on retaining life insurance commissions, keeping commission and clawback rates at the current levels of 60 per cent upfront commissions and 20 per cent trailing commissions, with a two-year clawback.

Door open for super funds

The final proposal has opened the door to give super funds more room to give advice with trustees being able to provide personal advice to their members about their interests in the fund, including when they are transitioning to retirement.

“In doing so, trustees will be required to take into account the member’s personal circumstances, including their family situation and social security entitlements if that is relevant to the advice,” Levy said.