Minister Jones has more pressing priorities to address before turning his attention to the ASIC levy, he confirmed at an event on Thursday.
Speaking at the Association of Independently Owned Financial Professionals’ (AIOFP) Canberra Conference on Thursday evening, Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones emphasised that the ASIC levy is not currently a top priority for him, suggesting that it could be addressed at a later time.
“We’ve got an industry funding model right across the board, not just for financial advisers,” Mr Jones said when asked by an AIOFP member whether he planned to tackle the escalating ASIC levy, which has, in recent years, increased disproportionately to the number of advisers in the industry.
“Is it perfect? No. Are there areas it might need to be polished up? Yes, there might be,” the minister said.
“Can we settle down on the stuff currently in front of the government?”
Earlier this month, it was confirmed that ASIC has reduced the levy charged to advisers by $400 per adviser.
Namely, the corporate regulator released the final figures that will apply for the ASIC funding levy for the 2022–23 financial year in two legislative instruments, noting that the total cost for the advice sector has been reduced by nearly $8 million to $47.6 million.
According to this data, the Financial Advice Association Australia estimated that the final amount will be around $400 per adviser lower than the original estimate, at $2,818 per adviser in addition to the minimum levy of $1,500.
Under the former government’s ASIC levy freeze, the costs charged to the sector amounted to $22.8 million. This meant that at the time, advisers were charged a minimum levy of $1,500, plus $1,142 per adviser.
Earlier this year, in a letter to members, the executive director of the AIOFP Peter Johnston said that the outrage expressed by members over the increase in the ASIC levy following the Labor government’s refusal to extend the previous freeze had prompted the association to raise its issues with Mr Jones.
“We have decided to commence some lobbying on this levy issue due to the pain and anger this is causing many members, we have not seen this much frustration since the grandfathering revenue ban was announced,” Mr Johnston said.
“You may recall we suggested commencing this strategy leading into the final 12 months of this term of government and not put another issue on the minister’s plate, but we will do both considering the circumstances.”
The FAAA, too, has previously said that it will lobby Mr Jones on the levy matter and has raised concerns about ASIC’s lack of transparency in determining the charges imposed on advisers.
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