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Compensation is licensees' responsibility: SPAA

Compensation is licensees' responsibility: SPAA

Aleks Vickovich
28 May 2013

Responding to comments by the regulator about the need for self-managed super fund (SMSF) advisers to explain compensation options to clients, the SMSF Professionals' Association of Australia (SPAA) has said the responsibility lies with licensees.

SPAA national technical director Graeme Colley said the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) taskforce's finding - that there is "room for improvement" in the way statutory compensation schemes are explained to SMSF trustees - should not be blamed solely on advisers.

"SPAA strongly advocates that SMSF advisers give their clients adequate information about the [Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)] scheme and other compensation and dispute resolution options," Mr Colley said.

"However, information about the schemes and options available to clients are really the responsibility of licensees, who should be ensuring that financial planners are in possession of that information and relaying it to clients.

"You would expect, as part of training from dealer groups, that authorised reps are made well aware of the compensation and dispute processes and the obligations to explain this to clients."

Mr Colley said the finding was reminiscent of broader criticism of the SMSF industry and the perceived lack of redress opportunities for SMSF trustees.

"We think that criticism is unfair," he said. "There are a range of options available to trustees who have been defrauded or faced poor advice, from dispute resolution in the courts, the FOS system and a range of compensatory frameworks."

Mr Colley - who took up the position of national technical director for the industry body following the recently-announced departure of Peter Burgess to AMP - said the findings of the taskforce need to be read "with balance".

"The vast majority of people will get at least adequate if not good advice in relation to their SMSF," he said.

Compensation is licensees' responsibility: SPAA
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