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Adviser voice will be heard

04 Jul 2017

First-hand adviser input will be critical for the working group tasked with developing the new code of conduct for financial advisers, the group’s chair, Angus Dale-Jones, says.

IFA Chief Executive Fred Dodds spoke at last week’s Financial Markets Law Conference, and outlined what he said were key concerns for advisers.

They included “the battle we didn’t win” – the delineation of sales versus advice, the question of what would be required as a competence standard for advisers under the new rules,  how a level playing field would be created for all advisers, what disclosure requirements might be introduced, and the absence of adviser knowledge on the code working group.

There is only one adviser on the working group, Rebecca Vanderbom, head of financial advice delivery and service at Milford Asset Management.

“I can tell you that the various adviser bodies are not happy with that absence," Dodds said.

"Two of the three primary objectives of the review were that consumers can access the advice and assistance they need and advice improves consumer financial outcomes. I thought those advice objections were a proxy for having some financial advice acumen on the working group and we are going to do something about that."

He said the Stakeholder Engagement Group, made up of the associations that represent advisers, has requested a meeting with the minister.

Dale-Jones said the legislation required his group to consult, including specifically with any person it reasonably considered to be representative of the financial advice industry.

Once it started work on August 1, it would move quickly to start that process, he said, and getting adviser input would be critical.

“The legislation requires us to take into account the availability and quality of financial advice. So we have a balancing act to do. Ultimately the code has a part to play in creating an environment where customers choose to access useful advice, whether from an adviser, a business, a digital process or part digital process. We need advisers' ideas and suggestions to help get that right, so please participate in consultation.”

He said the code that the working group drafted would be different from that AFAs currently work under.

“The new code has a wider context than the current code. It applies to many more advisers. Also, it extends beyond being a code for AFAs to now cover professional conduct in respect of all financial advice services - moving from an occupational code to a service one. So the consultation process is an opportunity for businesses (large and small) to demonstrate how they ensure good conduct in their advice service as a whole: how they combine their organisational capabilities with the advisers' conduct and competence to attain appropriate customer outcomes."


 - Good returns

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