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Annual renewals advice bill passes Parliament

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Tony Zhang
26 February 2021 — 1 minute read

The government has passed a new bill in Parliament which seeks to provide greater protection for superannuation members against paying fees for no service.

The government’s Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response No. 2) Bill 2020 dealing with annual renewals, disclosure of lack of independence and restrictions on deducting advice fees from super has passed Parliament.

Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy Jane Hume said the changes were “an important step in restoring trust and confidence in Australia’s financial system”.

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“The passage of the bill follows through on the government’s commitment to implement the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry,” Ms Hume said.

“Under the legislation passed today, clients of financial advisers will receive an annual, forward-looking summary of fees and corresponding services, in addition to existing disclosures.”

The government stated the changes complement the introduction of a new disclosure obligation that requires financial advisers who are not independent of product providers to provide their clients with a clear and concise written disclaimer.

The legislation will also prohibit the deduction of ongoing advice fees from MySuper products and increase the transparency of fees to members.

The new laws are expected to cost the industry $28 million in terms of upfront annual compliance expenses.

The legislation faced criticisms from many corners of the industry, with the AIOFP, PIFA and AFA all lobbying crossbench senators for last-minute amendments to the bill.

AIOFP executive director Peter Johnston said the passage of the bill should be viewed by advisers as the final nail in the coffin for the Liberal Party as a pro-business political movement.

“As they have done for the past eight years, the Liberal Party will not listen to the industry or consumers about their legislative pathway and agenda to remove advisers from the industry,” Mr Johnston said.

“The advice community must now return the compliment by removing them from office. This is yet again another blatant disregard for consumers and the cost of advice justified by commissioner Hayne’s misguided recommendations.”

Meanwhile, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) has welcomed the passage of the bill.

“The Hayne Royal Commission Response No. 2 Bill ensures that ongoing advice fee arrangements are required to be renewed annually by the client and all services entitled to be received are recorded in writing, important protections for advice recipients,” the ASFA said.

“Financial advice is important to superannuation fund members as they consider financial decisions both in the accumulation phase and in retirement.

“Sadly, not all superannuation fund members are able to pay for financial advice out of pocket. It’s pleasing to see that the Parliament recognises that an individual’s superannuation fund account type should not preclude them from accessing, and paying for, worthwhile advice.”

Annual renewals advice bill passes Parliament
parliament391
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