Alan Kirkland

The corporate regulator is encouraged by the rate of adviser registrations in the past week and is confident that most, if not all, advisers yet to complete their registrations will meet a deadline it this week extended to February 16.

After the Financial Advice Association sounded the alarm earlier this week that several thousand advisers were yet to fulfill this obligation, ASIC announced late Thursday afternoon it would extend the deadline given the time of year when many workplaces are still in holiday mode.

Newly installed ASIC commissioner Alan Kirkland tells Professional Planner that advisers and licensees alike are taking their registration obligations seriously, and there are only around 4000 still outstanding.

“The encouraging thing is we have seen almost 2000 additional advisers registered in the past week,” Kirkland says. 

“We know that many licensees are getting on with this job, and if that rate of registration continues, then all advisers will be registered well before the extended deadline.” 

The requirement was introduced in response to recommendation 2.10 of the Hayne royal commission and legislated in 2021, and is separate from the current requirement for AFSLs to appoint advisers to the ASIC Financial Adviser Register once they have been authorised.

It is the licensee’s responsibility to ensure its authorised representatives are correctly and fully registered, but there are penalties for licensees and individual advisers alike if the deadline is missed.

Kirkland says advisers need to make sure they know that they’ve been registered. 

“If they go on to provide personal advice to a retail client after [16 February], and they haven’t been registered by the licensee, then there are consequences for the individual adviser as well,” he says. 

Kirkland says there is “quite a spread” of sizes of licensee whose advisers have yet to complete registrations and it’s not an issue confined to small licensees or own-AFSL firms. 

“We’ve seen small, medium, and large licensees register their advisers to date, and there’s still a mix of sizes of licensees that have yet to take that step,” he says. 

Kirkland stresses the deadline for adviser registrations will not be extended again.

“The final piece of legislation to allow us to open registrations was only enacted on the 27th of November and we of course opened the registration process the very next day,” he says. 

“In that context, we were very loath to provide any extension; the only reason that we have done so is because part of the registration period coincided with the holiday period in Australia and so we thought it was reasonable to give people a few extra weeks in light of that timing. But that is the only extension that will be granted.”