SYDNEY: 9 February 2023 – The Advisers Association (TAA) welcomes the long-awaited release of the Quality of Advice Review final report (the Report).
TAA CEO, Neil Macdonald said, ‘The release of the Report brings the long wait for financial advisers to an end and marks the beginning of a new way forward for the profession. We hope that, after consultation and implementation, it fosters an environment in which many more Australians can access good financial advice that meets their needs.’
Mr Macdonald said TAA particularly supports measures that make personal financial advice more digestible for consumers and more efficient for advisers to deliver. ‘The whole point of financial advice is to help guide people towards good financial outcomes that improve their financial wellbeing,’ he said.
TAA particularly welcomes recommendations around removing the overly prescriptive ways in which advice must currently be presented to clients, and simplifying fee consent.
‘Together these measures would enable advisers to deliver advice in the way consumers actually want to receive it,” Mr Macdonald said.
Mr Macdonald said the extent to which ‘non relevant providers’ such as product providers, superannuation funds and banks, could provide personal advice should be a matter for further considered industry consultation.
‘There is no doubt that there is a huge accessibility issue around financial advice in Australia,’ he said. ‘But as we have previously said, what we want to avoid is a situation whereby consumers think they are getting personal financial advice from a qualified financial adviser with – if the recommendations go through – a fiduciary Best Interests Duty, when in fact they are receiving only product information and guidance from someone representing an entity with a vested interest.’
Mr Macdonald said if those recommendations go through unaltered, a consumer education piece around this issue is likely to be required.
‘After years and years of reforms, and conduct that has unfairly damaged the reputation of qualified, professional financial advisers who have and will continue to have a Best Interests Duty towards their clients, the last thing in the world we want to see is history repeat itself,’ he said.
Mr Macdonald also acknowledged that it is very early days for the Report.
‘We hope that via consultation with the industry, and collaboration across all stakeholders, the new measures outlined in the Report will herald a new dawn of access to good quality, accessible financial advice for consumers,’ he said.