ASIC chair James Shipton says he is “acutely aware” of the growing shortfall of financial advice as it plans to embark on further research into the issue next year.
Speaking at the CFA Societies Australia Investment Conference in Sydney yesterday, Mr Shipton was questioned about advisers leaving the industry amid a continuing demand for financial advice.
In August, ASIC released a report on consumer attitudes on financial advice, noting in the report it would be conducting further research on unmet advice needs in 2020-21.
He was also asked about the issues around technological solutions having issues working around the distinction between personal advice and general advice.
“The first point is that we're acutely aware of all of those issues. That's the first point,” Mr Shipton said.
“Second point is that we're doing a lot of work on general and personal advice.
“The average person does not understand, and I can understand this, the subtle but important difference between personal advice and general advice. And so that's a starting point.”
Mr Shipton noted the shifts happening in the industry as advice businesses move from one path to another. He said ASIC is monitoring the situation.
“We want to engage with the industry about the consequences of this, unintended or otherwise, because we are worried about … unmet advice needs,” he said.
“We can't dictate how a market develops but we certainly want to be a core part in the discussions to how it can best develop and how to optimise for the current environment that we're in.”
Professional obligation lies with licensees, says ASIC
Mr Shipton said what ASIC wants to create is an environment where there is confidence and assurance that consumers are actually getting a fair deal and a fair outcome, and that people in financial services are living up to their professional expectations and obligations.
“That’s what we want. That’s a good result because that obligation ultimately sits on you. The way the financial regulatory system is designed in Australia – which is often misunderstood – is the first line of compliance is with the licensed entities themselves. That’s the first line,” Mr Shipton said.
“The obligation for fair, honest and efficient provision of financial services rests with financial licensees. You’re the first line both legally and professionally to make sure that standards are lifted and most importantly that we have fairness injected into every single part of that system.”
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