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December 14, 2011

ASIC guidance on FOFA reforms

ASIC has released its plans for publishing regulatory guidance on the impact of the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms on financial advisers and other industry participants. (Background: see here and here).

Assuming the FoFA Bills are passed before 1 July 2012, ASIC aims to release regulatory guidance before 1 July 2012 on:

  • The best interests duty: guidance will set out ASIC’s expectations for meeting the best interests duty.
  • Scaled advice: ASIC issued Consultation Paper 164 Additional guidance about how to scale advice (CP 164) in July 2011. The final guidance will aim to increase access to advice by facilitating the provision of scaled advice where appropriate. This guidance will take into account the best interests duty and will discuss a range of topics, including how the fact find can be either limited or expanded, depending on the complexity of the advice being provided.
  • Conflicted remuneration: guidance will assist industry to understand the practical operation of the ban on conflicted remuneration and how ASIC will administer it.
  • ASIC powers: ASIC will re-issue Regulatory Guide 98 Licensing; Administrative action against financial services providers (RG 98) to reflect our expanded powers to cancel or suspend an AFS licence and ban representatives.

ASIC is also considering developing regulatory guidance on FoFA’s anti-avoidance provisions.

ASIC will also adopt a facilitative compliance approach for the first 12 months of the implementation of the FoFA reforms, until 1 July 2013. Provided industry participants are making reasonable efforts to comply with the FoFA reforms, ASIC will adopt a measured approach where inadvertent breaches result from a misunderstanding of requirements or systems issues. However, where ASIC finds deliberate and systemic breaches we will take stronger regulatory action.

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Posted 14th December 2011 by David Jacobson in Corporations Act, Financial Services, Future of Financial Advice Reforms