ASIC today 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.
The proposed commencement date of the FoFA reforms is 1 July 2012. This depends on the timing of the passage of the Corporations Amendment (Future of Financial Advice) Bill 2011 and the Corporations Amendment (Further Future of Financial Advice Measures) Bill 2011 (FoFA Bills) through the Australian Parliament.
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.
Finally, ASIC will amend existing regulatory guidance and ASIC relief to reflect the FoFA reforms where necessary. These consequential amendments to existing regulatory guidance may not all occur before 1 July 2012.
ASIC will consult directly with stakeholders in the coming months as well as seeking industry feedback through its usual formal consultation process.
ASIC will also adopt a facilitative compliance approach for the first 12 months of the implementation of the FoFA reforms, until 1 July 2013. That is, 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.