Finance licensing revolution

AUSTRALIA’S providers of financial advice are set to see a quiet revolution in the way they are licensed, with a new regime likely to be in place by October governing the way they do business.

To be known as the Australian Financial Services Licence, it will take the place of a myriad of earlier legislation, which is to be superseded by the new Financial Services Reform Bill.

Almost every intermediary, from financial advisers to brokers selling general insurance, under which the dealer organisation holds a licence and individuals operate under that licence as authorised representatives.

Due to the State-based nature of their licences, real estate agents are virtually the only advisers who will remain outside of the regime regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

For consumers, the new legislation will be most obvious in product comparison across different categories.

It is intended that investors will have better information at hand to compare mutual funds, for example, with superannution.

Acting WA regional commiss-ioner for ASIC Michael Gething said the legislation currently was going through a period of public consultation.

“ASIC is developing its policies and systems and consulting widely to ensure they are both workable from the industry perspective and provide the high standards of consumer protection expected,” Mr Gething said.

“It is not a set of reforms that are any response to a major crisis. It is in repsonse to enefficiencies and regulatory overlaps.”

Mr Gething will speak at a Securities Institute of Australia function at the Sheraton tomorrow.

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