Left in the dark

Left in the dark

With ASIC publishing its guidance on the outstanding FOFA issues, many advisers are still struggling with the changes

 

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released much-anticipated guidance on Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) issues, but much is still unknown.

Over the past month, ASIC has delivered guidance on the last remaining issues –  codes of conduct and conflicted remuneration under FOFA – much to the joy of the many advisers and others still grappling with the changes.

The new guidance has – to a certain extent – brought much-needed clarity on some issues, as deputy editor Chris Kennedy writes about on page 15.

However, the guidance was not only written in dense, ‘public-service speak’ – failing to draw out any practical solutions regarding which financial planning businesses need to comply – but many important issues are also yet to be addressed.

While the crucial question of ‘grandfathering’ is mentioned in the guidance, it remains effectively up in the air, with further consultation and guidance promised.

Vertical integration – where advisers are incentivised to recommend the products of a parent company – is another important issue that ASIC’s guidance did not sufficiently cover but it is one that is emerging as a potentially disturbing loophole in the post-commissions world.

Based on much of the feedback ifa has received since ASIC’s announcements, we’ll increase our focus on this important issue in future editions.

Last month, I wrote about the incredible growth underway in the self-managed superannuation (SMSF) sector. This month, our cover feature (page 18) looks ‘beyond the hype’ at the real opportunities and challenges on the road to becoming an SMSF specialist.

For many advisers and planners, specialist SMSF advice might just be a bridge too far; however, all advisers should consider the opportunities offered and the prospects for integrating this advice category into their business – or at least capitalising on their current database and client relationships to tap into the sector.

This issue of ifa, and in particular our focus on the ASIC guidance, has been significantly influenced by the news, comments and related coverage on ifa’s recently-launched daily news website ifa.com.au.

Feedback received from the industry – and the level of debate our articles continue to generate – is giving us the opportunity to develop ifa around real time issues that impact the financial planning and advice sector.

This is important, and I see our role as one that gives a voice to the industry and helps shape that debate – the dialogue created via our online portal can be corralled, synthesised and analysed in the print magazine. I encourage you to get involved by commenting online, but also feel free to contact me direct on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any comments or feedback on any of the issues covered this month.

I’m also particularly pleased to be able to announce the launch of our iPad app, available for download on the iTunes store and from ifa.com.au. As well as being able to read all the content from ifa magazine, readers can use the app as a gateway to the news, analysis and other content online, as well as to our Twitter feeds.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Phillip Tarrant

Left in the dark
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