ASIC has issued an instrument, ASIC Corporations (Urgent Superannuation Advice) Instrument 17-530, to temporarily extend the time financial advisers have to provide retail clients with a statement of advice (SOA).
“The instrument provides temporary and conditional relief from the requirement under s946C of the Corporations Act to provide an SOA when or as soon as practicable after personal advice is provided to a retail client,” ASIC said in a statement.
“The relief gives financial advisers up to 30 days to provide an SOA for personal advice provided to retail clients about a superannuation product in connection with the changes in laws regulating superannuation as a result of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Fair and Sustainable Superannuation) Act 2016 where the advice is requested and provided before 1 July 2017.”
The corporate regulator, however, stressed that financial advisers are still required to meet all other obligations under the Corporations Act including the conduct and disclosure obligations, in providing such advice.
According to ASIC, the relief is “intended to assist consumers to access advice about the changes in the superannuation laws during this unusually busy period, while maintaining consumer protection”.
Verante director Liam Shorte said while he welcomed the 30-day extension for those clients already seen by his firm, it would not allow enough time to see many last-minute clients at this late stage and provide advice with the use of this relief.
“To provide the advice required, we would need to read the trust deed to confirm the powers available to the trustees and in some cases have them updated, and review the last two years’ financials to check pension balances, contribution history and minimum pensions,” Mr Shorte said.
In addition to this, advisers would also need to review existing pension documentation and prepare new documents, if required, to change from binding nominations to reversionary, assess the client’s circumstances and determine if a contribution or re-contribution strategy would be required, and prepare minutes to manage the excess over $1.6 million commutation back to accumulation or withdrawal from the fund.
“The risks of getting something wrong in rushing to provide the advice means I will not be using the 30-day relief to help last-minute requests,” Mr Shorte said.
“I think trustees need to learn that doing things last minute is not a sustainable solution. While we have the 30-day relief for the statement of advice, we do not have the extra time for research and documentation delivery without risk of errors.”