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Labor commits to enshrinement

Treasurer Chris Bowen has named enshrinement of the terms ‘financial planner’ and ‘financial adviser’ as among Labor’s top industry priorities if re-elected.

In a statement yesterday welcoming the beginning of Financial Planning Week, Mr Bowen – who has responsibility for financial services policy in the Rudd cabinet – said a reinstated Rudd government would move to pass the legislation as soon as possible.

“An important priority for a re-elected Rudd Labor government will be to ensure that legislation to enshrine the term ‘financial planner’ is passed through the parliament as rapidly as possible,” the Treasurer said.

The legislation was passed by the House of Representatives in May, but did not reach hearing in the Senate in time for the end of the parliamentary term.

At that time, former Labor financial services minister Bill Shorten welcomed the Bill, describing the passage as a win for consumer protection.

“The amendments enshrining the terms ‘financial planner’ and ‘financial adviser’ and similar terms will enhance consumer protections by making it easier for Australian consumers to identify genuine providers of financial product advice,” he said.

Shadow minister for financial services Mathias Cormann – who also issued a statement yesterday in support of FP Week – has previously indicated he thinks enshrinement of the terms is unnecessary.

“The government has attached its proposal to enshrine the terms ‘financial planner’ and ‘financial adviser’ to a completely unrelated Bill about corporate bonds which was introduced into parliament today,” Senator Cormann told ifa in March.

“We remain unconvinced of the need for this additional bit of regulation. Those who are pushing for this change see it as a first step on a pathway towards further regulation and additional costly red tape down the track.”