Expand adviser register: Maurice Blackburn

Litigation law firm Maurice Blackburn has suggested expanding the government’s financial adviser register to include PI insurance policy and FOS complaint details.

The firm – which is currently acting on behalf of aggrieved former Macquarie Equities clients and is also a member of CBA’s open advice review program – has provided a submission to the Senate’s ‘scrutiny of financial advice’ inquiry arguing a number of additional enhancements to the ’enhanced register of financial advisers’ should be made.

“It should be a requirement that a financial adviser must have a relevant tertiary level degree, 12 -months training and ongoing professional development in what is an ever-changing area,” the submission argues, echoing the recent parliamentary joint committee report on adviser standards.

“Until then, disclosure of the qualifications held by advisers, such as they are, is vital for consumers to understand what expertise they have in providing the financial advice.”

However, as well as qualifications, the submission penned by Maurice Blackburn partner John Berrill suggests the register include details about external dispute resolution mechanisms so consumers are prepared.

Specifically he writes that a “confirmation that [the adviser] hold[s] adequate professional indemnity insurance” be included in the register, as well as “any disciplinary orders or undertakings” from ASIC or “any FOD complaints” upheld against them.

In addition, the submission suggests that advisers be “required to demonstrate that they consider and recommend both affiliated and non-affiliated products”, even suggesting that parliament should consider mandating that APLs contain a majority of non-affiliated products for aligned advisers.

“This ties in with the general best interest test and would provide prescriptive requirements to support compliance with the best interest test,” the submission states.

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