FOFA changes passed, education reforms in ‘final stages’

The government has announced it passed a bill this week that makes several amendments to FOFA, adding that the new adviser education reforms are in the "final stages".

In a statement, Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Small Business Kelly O'Dwyer said advisers will now have 60 days, up from 30, to provide renewal opt-in notices and fee disclosure statements to clients.

"After the bill is enacted, advisers will have this additional time to properly prepare and assure the quality of these documents and for consumers to make a considered decision," Ms O'Dwyer said.

"The legislation also introduces a limited regulation-making power to allow the government to wind back existing exemptions to conflicted remuneration to address any future unintended consequences in relation to the conflicted remuneration provisions."

The bill also includes amendments that treat basic insurance products and non-cash payments the same as other financial products. It also clarifies the application of the client-pays and intra-fund advice provisions to ensure they operate as intended.

Further, the bill broadens the 'education and training' provision to recognise the carrying on of a financial services business, allowing education and training on a broader range of topics to be provided.

"The Turnbull Government will continue to implement initiatives from the Financial System Inquiry in order to enhance the financial system and ensure Australians continue to have confidence that our financial system is the best in the world," Ms O'Dwyer said.

"We are in the final stages of developing legislation to establish a new framework to improve the standards of professional financial advisers. We have also introduced legislation to regulate the payment of life insurance commissions in order to address concerns about the quality of life insurance advice that was being provided to clients."

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