The regulator said it had received an overwhelming response to its consultation on reducing barriers to advice affordability, detailing the next steps in its process as hopes emerge that the growing compliance burden on advisers may finally be reduced.
Addressing the SMSF Association National Conference 2021 last week, ASIC commissioner Danielle Press said the regulator’s Consultation Paper 332 on reducing barriers to affordable advice had received over 480 submissions.
She said the majority of those received had come from advisers and the accounting profession, and common themes were beginning to become apparent when it came to problems with advice delivery.
“The SMSF Association has commented that the current advice process is too lengthy and prioritises the needs of the licensee over the consumer,” Ms Press said.
“This is consistent with the themes we have seen emerge through other submissions.”
Following the collation of submissions to the consultation, Ms Press said the regulator would seek to hold roundtables with key industry groups and licensees in the first quarter of the year, to dig deeper into the issues raised in their submissions and potential solutions.
Crackdown on unlicensed advice
Following enforcement action taken around unlicensed advice given by real estate agents at the height of the COVID pandemic, Ms Press said ASIC had adopted a more significant focus on inappropriate advice being given by those not caught by the licensing regime.
“Last year we became concerned about the possibility of increasing levels of unlicensed advice as operators looked to take advantage of vulnerable consumers during the COVID pandemic,” she said.
Ms Press said ASIC had established an unlicensed advice working party to identify and investigate incidents of suspected advice being provided by unlicensed entities.
“In some cases, ASIC will write to entities that may be engaging in unlicensed conduct and may be unaware of the need for a licence to warn them of potential consequences,” she said.
“In other cases, ASIC continues to investigate and will take enforcement action where it’s required.”
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