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Jones says he is 'pleased' with QAR progress following meeting with Levy

Stephen Jones has reiterated his commitment to ensuring Australians have access to affordable financial advice following a meeting with Michelle Levy.

The minister for financial services has backed the Quality of Advice Review, emphasising the “important opportunity” it provides to “streamline and simplify” the regulatory settings in a statement issued on Thursday.

Mr Jones disclosed that as part of delivering on the government’s commitment to ensure Australians have access to “high-quality and affordable financial advice”, he recently met with the independent reviewer Michelle Levy.

“I am pleased with the progress of the review, and the significant contribution that the financial advice industry, consumer bodies and regulators have made to the review’s progress to date,” Mr Jones said, adding that he supports the review continuing under the current Terms of Reference.

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“I look forward to receiving the Review’s final report and recommendations on 16 December 2022,” the minister noted.

Alongside the review, Mr Jones said he remains committed to “looking at reforms now to assist financial advisers in being able to meet the needs of their clients including the education requirements for experienced financial advisers”.

QAR attracts high number of submissions

The Quality of Advice Review has garnered a large number of submissions, with the likes of the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) dubbing it the industry’s “biggest hope”.

“The reality is that with an absence of key policy announcements emerging during the election campaign, the QAR must be our biggest hope of addressing the current issues in financial advice,” the AFA said last month.

Most recently key groups including the AFA, FPA, FSC, SIAA, The Adviser Association and CAANZ united in a join submission to call for a more consumer-focused regulatory approach and reduced costs.

“Existing regulatory requirements are confusing, complex, and overwhelming and mandate a one-size-fits-all advice process that neither caters for, nor considers, the individual needs and circumstances of each consumer,” the Joint Associations Working Group (JAWG) said in a statement earlier this week.

But despite numerous calls for professional standards and education requirements to be looked at in the QAR, Ms Levy said in March that while some key reforms will be addressed, professional standards will be excluded.

“These reforms will be taken into consideration as part of the regulatory framework that specifically applies to financial advice,” Ms Levy said at the time.

“However, the review will not be undertaking a detailed analysis of the operation of these reforms.”

The Labor government has made some firm commitments to implement changes on the professional standards front.

Namely, last month, during the pre-election campaign, Mr Jones said Labor would put in place “a sensible, efficient recognition of prior learning arrangements” fairly quickly.

“Sworn in, consultation process, let’s get this done.

“We want to make sure it’s in place and up and running,” Mr Jones said at the time.

Although he has since acknowledged his commitment to the cause, most recently this Thursday, advisers are yet to see real progress. 

Jones says he is 'pleased' with QAR progress following meeting with Levy
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