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Privacy Act changes to hit advisers

Many financial advisers will be affected by the upcoming amendments to the Privacy Act and should prepare well in advance, lawyer Anne Marie Allgrove has claimed.

Despite a clause exempting small businesses from many of the new requirements, some planners may not qualify – particularly those that are affiliated with dealer groups.

"Small business owners that are connected with larger businesses may not qualify for the exemption," said Allgrove, who is a partner and privacy specialist at Baker & McKenzie in Sydney.

"It would depend on the specific contractual arrangements in place," she said.

As a result, Allgrove advises that all planners belonging to a dealer group are very clear about what their contractual relationship is to the dealer and what their obligations might be under the Act.

The amendments - which were passed by the federal Parliament in late 2012 and are slated to take effect from March 2014 - include new restrictions on the way information can be stored and used, including for direct marketing purposes.

"Under the changes, if a planner receives a marketing list they must also receive undertakings from the provider that the people on the list have consented to receiving marketing materials," Allgrove explained.


She said that even those advisers that do qualify for the exemption should make sure they are in line with the new amendments from a "reputational and best practice point of view."