SPAA throws support behind govt's adviser register

The SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA) supports the government’s decision to introduce a public register of financial advisers, saying it should help ASIC and trustees detect “sharp practices”.

The register will begin by March 2015, according to an announcement from Minister for Finance and Acting Assistant Treasurer Mathias Cormann late last week.

Senator Cormann said the register has been “informed” by the industry working group consultation meetings and will enable “investors, employers and ASIC to verify the credentials of financial advisers and be confident that they are appropriately qualified and experienced”.

Among other details, the register will include any bans, disqualifications or enforceable undertakings.

It will also include “details around ownership of the financial services licensee and disclosure of the ultimate parent company” where applicable.

“We support the register on the basis it records advisers who are authorised representatives, as well as employee advisers, and gives consumers ‘meaningful information’ to identify skilled financial advisers,” said SPAA’s chief executive and managing director Andrea Slattery.

“A register should also help ASIC and consumers spot ‘sharp practices’ in situations where unprofessional advisers deliberately move around the financial planning industry with the simple aim of avoiding detection.”

Ms Slattery said the fact that specific information is required on the register, such as an adviser’s areas of specialisation, relevant qualifications, professional accreditation and professional association membership, is “critically important.”

“It is encouraging for the industry to see recognition of qualifications and skills at a level over and above those necessary to meet RG 146 that doesn’t recognise the specialist skills required of a financial adviser providing SMSF advice,” she said.

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