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Code of conduct regulatory guidance imminent

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is currently on track to release additional regulatory guidance papers on conflicted remuneration and on ASIC's approach to professional codes of conduct that obviate the need for an adviser to comply with opt-in.

Addressing the Industry Super Network's Financial Advice in Super Symposium yesterday, ASIC commissioner Peter Kell said the three most prominent issues raised in the code of conduct consultation were: should ASIC consider more narrowly focusing codes dealing with opt-in, should entity-specific codes be allowed, and what content could a code actually contain that would obviate the need for opt-in.

In particular there was interest over “entity specific” codes, with Mr Kell not ruling out the possibility of dealer groups maintaining their own codes, although he anticipated codes would generally be provided by professional associations.

"How could a code sponsor ensure consumers understand and agree to ongoing services, and how can we avoid situations where less engaged clients aren't paying [for services they don't receive]," he said.

Mr Kell said that prior to the consultation ASIC expected stakeholders to be "underwhelmed" by the examples provided in the consultation paper and that those expectations had been realised - "but wanted to hear from the industry how they wanted to provide ongoing advice that consumers were prepared to pay for," he said.

"The final paper will have more comprehensive checklist that will find more helpful," he added.

Mr Kell said that aside from Future of Financial Advice changes, there are a range of other issues the regulator is looking to engage with industry on this year.


These include studying online advice delivery, and how firms monitor and supervise employees which fundamental to ensuring consistent advice.

ASIC is also looking at how breaches are reported by the industry to the regulator, he said.