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Concerns raised regarding QAR-proposed SOA removal

By Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
06 October 2022 — 1 minute read

Pundits believe consumers still need to be provided with a record of their engagement with an adviser.

Midwinter has flagged concerns with a key recommendation in the Quality of Advice Review (QAR) proposal paper.

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Namely, the QAR proposal paper suggests removing the requirement for statements of advice (SOAs) to allow the profession to provide financial advice in a way that suits their customers.

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However, in an emailed statement to ifa, Midwinter CCO, Steve Davidson, argued that customers will still want, and need, to be provided with an artefact.

“Midwinter welcomes the proposal to remove the requirement to provide an SOA and allow advisers to provide advice in the way that best suits their customers,” Mr Davidson said.

“However, we believe consumers will still want, and need, to be provided with an artefact, as a record of their engagement with a financial adviser, with the primary objective being to inform and explain the advice provided and demonstrate its value. It would also record the provision of good advice and lead to a better and more informative experience for consumers,” he explained.

Similarly, the Institute of Managed Account Professionals (IMAP) argued that while there are a “couple of good points to come out of QAR”, the removal of the current SOA requirements is not one of them.

“The current statement of advice requirements needs to be revised but not removed,” IMAP said in its submission.

“We do not believe it would be appropriate for a retail investor not to be provided with written documentation articulating and supporting the recommendations made to them and for it to be incumbent on the investor to request this document,” it continued.

Moreover, the body argued that this would likely “lead to greater risk of poor documentation and a future increased workload for the Australian Financial Complaints Authority”.

The removal of SOA was previously welcomed by the CEO of the SMSF Association, John Maroney, who said: “We have long argued for the need to recognise the professionalism of the sector, cut excessive red tape, and put the consumer front and centre in the advice equation.”

Concerns raised regarding QAR-proposed SOA removal
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