Michelle Levy speaking on Tuesday night. Photo courtesey of PritchittBland Communications.

Having being part of three regulatory shake ups in the advice industry, Quality of Advice Review lead Michelle Levy never doubted she was the right person for the role.

Speaking at the PritchittBland Communications annual new year event in Sydney on Tuesday night, Levy said she was aware of the criticism of her being appointed to the role, being a lawyer and not an adviser or part of a licensee.

“Most of the time I read that comment or question; one occasion in a consultation meeting someone actually asked about that and I was a bit taken back,” Levy said.

“I’m not able to answer the particular question about me, but what I am able to say [is] at the end of the process is that I never felt out of my depth. I have lived and breathed this stuff.”

She added she lived through FSR, FOFA and the Hayne Royal Commission so she was well aware of the evolution of the industry.

“I hope that question [of my appointment] has been answered,” Levy said.

Levy added this was a review of the regulatory framework and ultimately required a lawyer with deep experience, and the recommendations “do not reflect a synthesis” of suggestions from stakeholders, but instead reflect her assessment of what should be changed in the regulatory framework.

“My role wasn’t to be a mediator and it wasn’t to try and come up with a compromise between the different views of stakeholders,” Levy said. “My role was to recommend changes which would improve the accessibility and affordability of advice.”

Noting the criticism of her appointment or proposals, she conceded she mistakenly ignored advice she was given which was to avoid some of the faceless and toxic feedback she would receive.

“In addition to the consult process, on occasion I made the big mistake of reading the comments at the end of articles,” Levy said.

Key findings

The final report has been delivered to financial services minister Stephen Jones, but Levy said she agreed with the minister the findings of the report should not be discussed until the minister has released his statement.

“I was happy to do so – not only because it gave me a break from thinking about financial advice but also because it would give [the minister] the opportunity to read them without the noise of other people’s views.”

However, prior to submitting her final proposals she said not to expect any wholesale changes from the original proposals paper.