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Proposed new financial adviser disciplinary system—AFS licensees beware

June 2021

The Morrison Government is working towards establishing a new disciplinary system and a single disciplinary body for financial advisers as recommended by the Hayne Royal Commission. Lawyer Jessica Fuller looks at the expanded role of the Financial Services Credit Panel (FSCP) and the much-anticipated new disciplinary system for financial advisers which includes annual registration for AFS licensees.

Single disciplinary body for financial advisers

The Government has released for consultation a draft Bill proposing to expand the role of the FSCP. The consultation follows a December 2020 joint media release from the Treasurer and Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy announcing the Government's commitment to strengthening oversight of financial advisers and simplifying the regulatory framework governing the provision of financial advice. Currently, the FSCP assists ASIC on more bespoke banning matters. Under the proposed changes, the FSCP will remain within ASIC but will take on the functions of a single disciplinary body for financial advisers.

New disciplinary system

If passed, the legislation Bill will—

  • introduce a new annual registration system for financial advisers
  • expand the role of the FSCP allowing it to cancel financial planner registrations and commence action against planners, licensees, and directors of licensees
  • establish new penalties and sanctions for financial advisers, as well as licensees, found to have breached their obligations
  • provide for the winding-up of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority and the transfer of related functions to the Minister responsible for administering the Corporations Act and to ASIC to streamline the regulation of financial advisers
  • create a single registration and disciplinary system for financial advisers who provide tax (financial) advice services, removing the requirement for tax financial advisers to be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board.

Annual registration

From 1 January 2022, all existing advisers will need to be registered under the new system by 1 January 2023. AFS licensees are responsible for attending to this registration.

Next steps?

The consultation period closed on 14 May 2021. Our Funds Management lawyers can explain these proposed changes and the next steps.