Economics committee chair blasts FASEA over soaring complaints

The chair of the House standing committee on economics has pointed to massive numbers of constituent complaints around the conduct of FASEA, saying the authority should be directly overseen by Parliament in the same way as ASIC.

In a hearing on Tuesday, committee chair Tim Wilson said he and his colleagues had received "so many complaints" around FASEA processes and consultation from constituents that he believed it would be worthwhile bringing the authority under the permanent oversight of the committee.

"There has been a constant frustration with the FASEA board and [advisers] feeling that they can dictate to the financial services industry without any accountability or feedback as part of their processes, particularly when introducing mandatory regimes pushing around long-term advisers who are capable of doing their jobs, but have been dictated to about qualifications they need within relatively short time frames," Mr Wilson said.

"There is so much strong feedback directly from advisers to members of Parliament, they feel they have no capacity to have informed participation in decision-making."

FASEA chief executive Stephen Glenfield pointed to the authority's obligations under the Corporations Act, saying it had little room to move in the way it had enacted legislation related to the FASEA standards within the required time frames.

"FASEA has taken into account the view of stakeholders before promulgating the standards that are required by the Corporations Act," Mr Glenfield said.

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"FASEA is given a role to put these standards in place – there was no grandfathering provision [in the legislation], so we are enacting our role in the Corporations Act to put into place these standards. In terms of the ability to give exemptions, we don’t have that provision."

Mr Wilson suggested the House economics committee be given permanent oversight of FASEA in a similar way to its current oversight arrangements with ASIC, APRA and the Reserve Bank, which Mr Glenfield said the authority would have no objection to.

Mr Glenfield also acknowledged that the time frames given to FASEA under the legislation had been "very tight".

"The release of standards was driven by the time frames in the legislation, we consulted twice through 2018 before they were released at the end of that year. I came to FASEA in September 2018 and in my view it was a big task to do in that time frame," he said.

Economics committee chair blasts FASEA over soaring complaints
Tim Wilson
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