The Federal Government has released the exposure draft regulations and legislative instruments that implement key elements to support the operation of the Better Advice Bill. These include matters related to the workings of the Single Disciplinary Body (SDB); advisers’ administrative sanctions that must be included on the Financial Advisers Register (FAR); extending the deadline to complete the FASEA financial adviser exam to 30 Sep 2022 for financial advisers who have attempted the exam twice before 31 Dec 2021; proposing new fees for the financial adviser exam and registration of financial advisers from 1 Jan 2022; and outlining the registration, education and training requirements for financial advisers providing tax (financial) advice services.
Although CA ANZ supports the overall objectives of the Bill designed to enhance industry professionalism, we remain concerned about some elements of the Bill, the draft regulations and unintended consequences of increased compliance and costs. Any unintended consequences will ultimately increase the cost of advice and therefore decrease access to advice, both of which have a negative impact on consumer ability to access affordable advice. It is vital that the Bill does not exacerbate recent increases in regulatory costs that are driving current advisers out of the advice space. This is a concerning trend, especially at a time when more and more clients want and need access to affordable advice.
CA ANZ is particularly concerned with the level of duplication and complexity of the proposed transition of Tax Financial Advisers from the TPB to ASIC. We feel there hasn’t been sufficient work to ensure the system will work effectively. We feel the proposal introduces unnecessary levels of duplication and complexity. Furthermore, it is important to consider the need for a level playing field between those financial advisers registered under the TPB and ASIC. Considering this element of the Bill is not strictly related to the Hayne Royal Commission recommendation, we recommend this part to be excised from the Bill to allow uninterrupted passage for the remaining elements of the Bill.
CA ANZ also continues to call for on-going consultation with the profession during the implementation phase of the different elements of the bill to avoid unintended consequences.