Two-stage registration for advisers
The recently passed Better Advice Act is still being filtered through both the regulator and the industry in general, but more specifics are quickly becoming available.
There were three key changes as part of the new legislation, which included ASIC taking over as the Single Disciplinary Body from 1 January 2022. The Financial Services and Credit Panel (FSCP) will be tasked with hearing and making judgements on certain conduct of those involved in the financial advice Industry.
Under the changes, the FSCP will have its powers expanded, including the ability to hear less serious misconduct matters, with every panel to comprise both an ASIC staff member along with no less than two industry participants. These participants will likely be confirmed before 1 January 2022, and appointed by the Minister.
Uncertainty continues to surround the handover of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA), with the only confirmation so far being that the price of the exam will increase under ASICs guidance. The schedule for sittings in 2022 is said to be only a few weeks away, with changes in the registration process also anticipated, although the Australian Council for educational Research (ACER) is likely to be engaged to run the physical exams.
Of most interest is news on the structure of the financial adviser registration process under which all participants will be required to be registered by 1 January 2023. According to ASIC’s release, this process will occur in two stages, with stage one being a “one-off registration” process using the existing Financial Adviser Register (FAR).
Stage two will commence once the FAR has been transitioned into the Australian Tax Office’s purview, with more guidance expected before Christmas.