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Everyone happy except advisers

Mike Taylor8 December 2023
My way Your Way


Financial advisers may be sceptical of the Government’s financial advice policy changes but insurers, banks and superannuation funds have responded positively.

Industry superannuation funds, the Financial Services Council (FSC) and the Council of Australian Life Insurers (CALI) all responded positively to the announcement by Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services, Stephen Jones.

Not only CALI but the Insurance Council of Australia representing general insurers welcomed the changes, while the FSC chief executive, Blake Briggs said his organisation welcomed what represented a comprehensive framework to deliver on its commitment to make financial advice more accessible and affordable.

For its part, Insignia Financial also welcomed the Government’s move with its chief executive, Renato Mota saying a broad advice continuum that considers the needs of many and reaches more people has been long-needed.

“The reduction of red tape and the introduction of a new class of qualified advisers alongside professional financial advisers across all financial institutions, including superannuation funds, are the right steps forward to deliver simple advice at scale and increase accessibility,” his statement said.

Alongside CALI, Australia’s two largest life insurers, TAL and AIA Australia, were also positive on the changes with AIA chief executive an CALI co-chair, Damien Mu congratulating Jones for his “bold and transformation announcements”.

“…supporting Australians with advice is critical to their financial wellbeing now and in retirement. The life insurer receives customer enquiries that the current regulatory framework prevents the company from assisting with, to the detriment of consumers,” he said.

“Insurers have a clear role to play in helping people understand if their cover continues to meet their needs as their lives change, to right-size where needed and to assist with affordability. Our ability to help people understand their protection needs and ensure their insurance is fit-for-purpose will be significantly improved under the Government reforms, meeting an under-served need in the current environment,” Mu said.

The newly-formed industry funds group, Super Members Council, also welcomed the Government’s announcement with its executive general manager, Policy, Mel Birks stating superannuation funds are trusted sources of information on super and retirement for their members and should be provided with the right legislative and regulatory tools to meet members’ needs.

“The proposed expansion of the scope of advice funds can provide will allow thousands more Australians approaching retirement to get the simple advice they need to make the best of their financial position.”

“Allowing funds to provide advice that considers some of their members’ key broader financial circumstances, such as debt and assets as well their partner’s income, will lead to better tailored advice,” Birks said.

All of this compares to the reaction of FAAA where its chief executive, Sarah Abood expressed concern that the Government’s approach “appears to invalidate the hard work and pain that has been involved in creating financial advice as a profession and winning the trust of consumers”,

“Specifically, the Minister has announced that any financial institution will be able to provide personal financial advice to consumers, using people who are not financial advisers – yet who would be called “qualified advisers”. There is no detail on the qualifications that would be required, however they would be substantially less than what is currently required to provide financial advice. Thus, the proposed term is self-contradictory and extremely likely to confuse consumers,” Abood said.

Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor

Managing Editor/Publisher, Financial Newswire

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2 months ago

Consumers will end up being the most negatively affected, and least happy, of all.

The fact so called “consumer groups” have supported these proposal proves yet again they are NOT consumer groups. They are leeching activist groups, who long ago lost touch with the real needs of consumers they purport to represent.

2 months ago

Let’s be clear on the basics:
– this will Not be Advice,
– it will simply be Financial Product Sales, – by Unqualified call centre jockeys,
– selling single products,
– vertically owned & conflicted
– and all paid for by HIDDEN PRODUCT COMMISSIONS,
– thus causing massive Commissions for No Service to huge amounts of people.

Andy Semple
2 months ago

Basically this is how it came about. Jones invited Industry Super, the Banks and the Insurers to all come together. He said “I’ll leave with you three to work out what would work for you three. Don’t worry about actual Financial Advisers as they are all fodder.”

And that’s how the term “Qualified Adviser” was born.

BOHICA – Financial Advisers should understand this term. Bent Over Here It Comes Again….

Just become a General Advice adviser and all this BS goes away.

Johnny come lately
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy Semple

You’re not helping people with general advice unless you are masquerading personal advice under a different name.

Which given your comments would appear to be the case

Davey NoFurries
2 months ago

“Everyone happy except advisers” – It is plain for everyone to see that advisers have no-one In Canberra that will stand up for our business. Power Brokers continue to run Canberra and that will never change. If Banks can get a free ticket back in the door straight after forking out over $4.0b in remediation, what hope does anyone have below Institutional level. And don’t forget the Insurers that tried to weasel their way out of coughing up trauma claims on all of the legacy policies…

Patrick McMenamin
2 months ago

Perhaps all “advisers” should read ASIC Regulatory Guide RG244B. 95% of what an adviser provides is information, the other 5% involves a “subjective recommendation or opinion”. Simply clearly inform consumers both verbally and in writing that the factual information you provide is to assist them to make their own informed decision and that there is no intention to provide, suggest or imply any subjective opinion or recommendation. Properly executed, in these circumstances, you are not required to be licensed.

And you do this ?
2 months ago

See how long that last until you are persecuted

2 months ago

Absolute tosh.

2 months ago

Consumers can get factual information from Google. So what you’re saying is like you’re a human Google bot. Goodluck explaining that to the Gestapo department (ASIC), a Government body intent on wiping you from the planet, that you’re not providing personal advice.

Tired Adviser
2 months ago

So where are the Associations getting on every Media platform to broadcast this travesty? No Unity Front mean we get kicked again

2 months ago
Reply to  Tired Adviser

In meetings with AwareSuper/ Hesta and Hostplus. Most likely now selling training programs or looking at other upselling opportunities and handing out membership forms to the scanning clerk.

2 months ago

Stephen Jones and the ALP serve Big Business. Not Australians.

2 months ago

The FAAA see there future linked with firms such as AwareSuper and the like. Over the next decade the number of “advisers” will decrease and the number of advisers, “qualified” advisers, support staff, admin staff within these firms that can be potential members of the FAAA will make Advocacy efforts for Advisers and Australians impossible.

This is a pivotal time in the history of Advice in Australia. I fear the FAAA has made a decision on which side it will stand and it’s not a great outcome for Australians.