The Morrison Government is committed to strengthening the financial advice sector and providing consumers with better access to affordable and high quality financial advice.
As the key regulator for financial advice, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has been seeking stakeholder feedback, in a consultation process that began last November, on ways to improve consumer access to quality, affordable financial advice. The Government encourages industry participants, stakeholders and consumers to submit feedback and recommendations before the close of the consultation period on Monday 18 January 2021.
The Morrison Government recognises the financial advice sector is in a state of significant transformation. Not only is the sector going through the process of professionalisation, but the industry is also adapting and innovating in response to the challenges of COVID-19.
In an independent study released by ASIC, it found almost one third (27 per cent) of Australians receive financial advice, or have done so in the past. The study also found that 41 per cent of Australians intend to receive financial advice in the future, however 20 per cent had considered seeking advice but had not gone ahead, with 35 per cent noting expense as the primary reason.
The importance of access to financial advice was underlined for many during COVID-19. Good quality, affordable financial advice was also recognised in the Retirement Income Review as being an important way Australians could maximise their income in retirement.
Senator the Hon. Jane Hume, Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy said, “The Government is focused on supporting the advice industry with fit-for-purpose regulation, while maintaining consumer protections. We know that some interpretations of current regulatory settings are creating barriers to consumers seeking good-quality, affordable personal advice. The Government supports a well regulated and vibrant financial advice sector that supports advisers seeking to help Australians make informed decisions about their personal finances and to make better use of their savings in retirement.”
Already, the Morrison Government has taken steps to professionalise the industry, reduce red tape, reinforce trust in advisers, and focus on a greater role for technology to help advisers access the tools they need. We now look forward to considering the outcomes of ASIC’s current consultation process.