The Federal Government has been urged to go beyond picking “easy wins” in its response to the Quality of Advice review, which is expected to recommend significant changes in line with proposals flagged last year.
Financial advisers, in a joint letter to Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones, say the Government has a rare opportunity to deliver affordable and accessible advice to consumers as an outcome of its response to the review, and urgent action is needed.
“Australian consumers will be left behind without the adoption of a holistic package of reforms. The reforms must extend beyond easy wins such as streamlining fee disclosure requirements and iron-out obligations like the design and distribution obligations,” the letter says.
“The government should commit to implementation timeframes that would see consultation with industry on a holistic package of reforms that are introduced into the Parliament this year.”
The final report, completed by reviewer Michelle Levy, was delivered to the Government on December 16, with industry now awaiting the release of the document, and responses on the recommendations.
Ms Levy said in a consultation paper last year that substantial change was needed. Proposals released for feedback included replacing the “best interests duty” obligation with a duty to provide “good advice”.
Personal advice would be apply more broadly, but with a reduced compliance paperwork burden, while general advice wouldn’t be regulated as a financial service.
The letter from the Joint Association Working Group, seen by insuranceNEWS.com.au, says some stakeholders continue to argue for the status quo without offering real solutions for the many Australians who retire each year without financial advice, but it warns the package will only succeed if a number of key changes are made.
The group lettered is signed by executives from 13 organisations including the Association of Financial Advisers, Financial Planning Association of Australia, Financial Services Council, Institute of Public Accountants, Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA), Boutique Financial Planning Principals Association and The Advisers Association.
“We look forward to the release of the final report,” they say. “Following its release, we would welcome the opportunity to meet to discuss how the government can improve the financial wellbeing of all Australians by ensuring they have access to quality financial advice.”
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