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‘Phone book’ adviser register slammed

One of the members of the government's adviser register industry working group has criticised the final-look register for a perceived lack of transparency, as other lobbyists from across financial services praise the move.

Independent Financial Advisers Association of Australia (IFAAA) president and working group member Daniel Brammall has issued a strongly-worded condemnation of the government’s announcement, saying it does not live up to the original promise from government and ASIC. 

“I can’t believe all of the other [members of the working group] have fallen into line,” Mr Brammall told ifa.

“Without [inclusion of a] financial services guide and information about independence, I really don’t see how this register is transparent at all,” he added.

In a statement, Mr Brammall said that without the inclusion of these two elements, the public register “runs the risk of becoming nothing more than an online phone book”.

The IFAAA president also said that the register was a “lost opportunity” to help stop the misuse of the term “independent financial adviser” by some in the advice profession.

“Planners who describe their services as ‘independent’ when they don’t meet the test are – at best – creating confusion and – at worst – engaging in misleading conduct,” the statement said.

“This confusion is easily removed by making it clear on the Government’s Enhanced Public Register of Financial Advisers."

The final register will, however, include information about AFSL ownership and alignment, which fellow working group member Peter Johnston said can largely be attributed to the lobbying efforts of himself and Mr Brammall during working group negotiations.