SMART Compliance principal Brett Walker has launched a website designed to help consumers choose a trustworthy adviser by conducting independent audits of voluntarily participating advisers and publishing the assessments online.
In a statement, SMART Compliance principal Brett Walker said MyAdviceCheck would “confirm advisers’ capacity to meet their Best Interest[s] Duty”.
According to the website, myadvicecheck.com.au is a free service meant to help consumers find a “realiable and ethical adviser” by “building a list of advisers who have submitted themselves to an independent assessment by us on behalf of consumers”.
“Advisers who complete the MyAdviceCheck audit will be able to pay a fee to have the results of that audit downloadable from this website,” the site said, claiming to be an “unbiased and expert analyser of advisers and adviser businesses”.
“MyAdviceCheck asks the questions you don’t want – or know – to ask before entering into a business relationship with an adviser.”
The website pitches itself as a “win/win for consumers and advisers”.
Commenting on the launch, Mr Walker said: “MyAdviceCheck is a simple solution to a problem made all too obvious by the current royal commission into the advice industry.
“Consumers rightly expect their advisers to be acting in their best interests however, sadly, the reality is that this is too often not the case.”
He said advisers could claim to abide by codes of practice, but he pointed to evidence given by FPA chief executive Dante De Gori at the royal commission that demonstrated “many advisers do not themselves understand their duties as fiduciaries who should be acting in the best interests of their clients”.
“At a time when doubts are being openly expressed about the capacity of industry associations like the FPA and AFA to adequately oversee their own members’ compliance, it is time to look at new ways to solve the perennial problem: how do consumers find a financial adviser they can trust?” Mr Walker said.
“The MyAdviceCheck audit service has been devised to overcome a key uncertainty consumers face when selecting an adviser.
“It also exists to help advisers come to grips with this new world of best interests and the fiduciary standards they must now embrace.”
The list is not yet currently available.