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Levy’s QAR rethink leaves advisers in limbo

Michelle Levy’s recent comments signalling changes to some previous proposals have advisers worried.

Speaking at the FPA Professionals Congress last month, the head of the Quality of Advice Review (QAR) said she had changed her mind on a few things, including her earlier recommendation for the complete removal of general advice.

Back in August, Ms Levy recommended that “the regime should no longer regulate ‘general advice’ as a financial service, and the definition should be removed together with the obligation to give a general advice warning”.

But, only a few months later, she said it would likely remain.

This apparent rethink, according to Midwinter’s chief commercial officer Steve Davison, makes it very tough for advisers to make business decisions between now and the government’s assessment of Ms Levy’s final report.

Ms Levy confirmed at Congress that she intended to keep the proposal that allows superannuation funds and banks to provide advice.

This one, however, has been very unpopular with advisers, but Midwinter’s Mr Davison believes that technology be used by advisers to retain a competitive advantage.


“Michelle Levy has said that she intends to keep the proposal to allow banks and super funds to provide advice in the report. Professional advisers have an advantage over these organisations through the depth of their client relationships built through human interaction,” Mr Davison said.

Referring to her inference — that robo-advice should benefit advisers in the future — at her last public appearance of the year, Mr Davison said “there is an immediate opportunity for advisers to take the engaging and efficiency-creating digital advice capabilities built and already in use by leading organisations and apply them to their business”.

“Automating repetitive background tasks and augmenting the adviser’s professional skills with compelling digital engagement helps advisers further differentiate whilst extending their reach and relevance to more Australians.”

Ultimately, however, Mr Davison believes that regardless of the final recommendations from the QAR, “the steps to provide advice will remain relatively unchanged”.

“The three key areas an adviser wants to solve with technology — client engagement, efficiency, and compliance — will remain.

“Rather than holding off on making important business decisions indefinitely, advisers should move forward and consider efficiency-creating digital advice tools as a potential advantage for their business rather than a threat.”