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Jones commits on SOAs and safe harbour, but not right now

Mike Taylor23 November 2023
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Statements of advice (SOAs) have morphed to become primarily used to protect financial advisers from legal action, according to the Assistant Treasurer and Minster for Financial Services, Stephen Jones.

“It is a glaring problem that a statement of advice is more likely to be read in a courtroom than around a dinner table,” he told the Financial Advice Association of Australia congress in Adelaide.

However, Jones made clear that the Government would not be rushing to introduce legislation and would, rather, be working with the financial advice sector to ensure legislative changes are fit for purpose and reduced tape without risking consumer harm.

“…I believe the mistakes in this policy space in the last few years could have been avoided by working with the industry rather than dictating to the industry,” Jones said.

Further, he acknowledged that financial advisers had told him that drafting a lengthy SOA represented a key driver of the increases in the cost of advice “yet most of the statement is never used by the person paying for it”.

The minister said that SOAs were an obvious example where well-intentioned rules were adding to the cost of advice without improving consumer outcomes and claimed that the first tranche of the Government’s Quality of Advice Review legislation was aimed addressing this.

“I know that there is eagerness to see needed changes to the statements of advice and you can add in the safe harbour steps as well,” he said.

In doing so, he said that he was reiterating that “the Government is committed to replacing statements of advice and removing the safe harbour steps” but warning that the tasks were interrelated and complex.

The minister also repeated the Government’s commitment to using superannuation funds to deliver more affordable advice but said the Government could not afford to get the legislative settings wrong.

Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor

Managing Editor/Publisher, Financial Newswire

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Stop Regulatory Triplication
2 months ago

Corps Law SoA laws followed by ASIC, AFCA and FARSEA triplicated additional Govt bureaucracy and interpretations have totally stuffed Advisers, consumers and SoAs.
Govt induced triplication of everything Adviser Mass BS over regulation.

Researcher
2 months ago

All talk, no action. Don’t expect anything from either the ALP or LNP, there are no votes in it for them. Jones isn’t interested in fixing the “hot mess” (his words) that has been created by both parties through unworkable rules and regulations, he knows it is too hard and as is it stands they benefit his union fund masters.

Edward
2 months ago

How can the Government and Mr Jones say they are committing to having super funds take a more prominent role in giving advice while at the same time saying they can’t yet make any changes to SoA’s.

Do they plan to simply broaden intrafund advice to cover whatever they want? Surely if that’s their plan it needs to be challenged on a legal basis.

Every day I become more convinced Mr Jones is not competent for the task he’s been assigned. This Government had a decade in opposition to develop policies and have come up with absolutely nothing since gaining power, what a disappointment.

Has Shoes
2 months ago
Reply to  Edward

Totally not true – they came up with the voice at a cost of $465m, 20 overseas flights for Airbus Albo…increased revenue for providers of Energy….increased govt fuel tax revenue from higher fuel prices…overseen massive interest and inflation increases so that rich folks with bank balances earn more money which they need to spend as quickly as possible before it devalues (due to inflation) – all so that the RBA can increase the interest rates of the overburdened mortgage distressed public…

Last edited 2 months ago by Has Shoes