Support staff should meet FASEA standards

BT head of financial literacy and advocacy Bryan Ashenden told the Financial Standard and Challenger Technical Services Forum that FASEA standards should raise questions for support staff as well as advisers.

Appearing at the event yesterday, Ashenden said paraplanners and  technical support staff should prepare themselves for the possibility that more stringent rules may apply to them in the future - in the same way that advisers are currently facing new education standards.

"You have to think it will come up down the track that if we say that everyone who is an adviser has to meet certain standards, has to comply with a code," he said.

"You have to expect that at some point in time - whether the regulator pushes for it or the industry pushes for it - the people who help support the provision of that advice will have to meet the same standards.

"If you're a paraplanner that is preparing the advice, why should you not be at the same level? If you're a compliance person that is reviewing the advice, why should you not be at the same level?"

Ashenden gave a run-down of the Royal Commission recommendations that apply to advisers and said that everyone working in advice should read the 100 pages of the Royal Commission report that apply to advice.

When it comes to life insurance advice, Ashenden explained Commissioner Kenneth Hayne's recommendation that ASIC is due to review life insurance advice in 2021 and the regulator should conduct that review.

Hayne wanted ASIC to see whether the changes around commissions had effectively changed the issues that existed in life insurance advice by 2021.

Hayne separately commented that it is his opinion that there should be no commissions on life insurance sales - Ashenden said this has been misreported.

"While it is the commissioner's personal view that the absence of commissions on the sale of life insurance would not result in an underinsurance problem in Australia, that's his personal view - it is not his recommendation," Ashenden clarified.

Ashenden wanted to make it clear that Hayne at no point recommended that life insurance commissions fall to zero.

He said that this kind of confusion about the Royal Commission recommendations and subsequent changes in the advice industry has caused undue concern amongst adviser and support staff and re-iterated that this is why it's important for those in the advice industry to be informed about legislative and regulatory changes.

Read more: FASEARoyal CommissionBryan AshendenChallenger Technical Services ForumFinancial StandardASICCommissioner Kenneth Hayne
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