ASIC cracks down on "independent" AFSLs
Thursday, 3 March 2016 11:52am

ASIC has requested that three Australian financial services licensees "remove or amend" claims about their independence.

Wilson HTM, iSelect Life and Citywide Insurance Brokers and Financial Planners have complied with ASIC's request after the regulator raised concerns about the language being used to promote their services.

Specifically, ASIC said that under the Corporations Act, a business can only describe a financial service as "independent" if no commissions, volume-based payments or "other gifts or benefits" are received from providing it.

In Wilson and iSelect's case, ASIC said that "both accept volume-based payments and commissions from product issuers in relation to the provision of financial services and advice." Citywide, meanwhile, can receive commission remuneration as an authorised representative of Suncorp.

"The independence of financial system gatekeepers such as financial advisers is an important issue for consumers and investors and may sway their decisions about their investments or their choice of adviser," said ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell.

"Consumers must not be misled into believing that an adviser is independent and free from influence by commissions or other benefits or associations, when that is not the case."

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