17 October 2016
Sydney, 17 October 2016: The Australian Bankers’ Association has today welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement that it will introduce new legislation into Parliament this year to create a new independent body to set higher professional standards for financial advisers.
“This is an important step in the professionalisation of the financial advice industry,” ABA Executive Director – Retail Policy Diane Tate said.
“Customers rightly expect to receive high quality financial advice to help them maximise their savings, build their wealth, plan for retirement or help manage their money in retirement.
“The new education and professional standards framework will mean we have more competent financial advisers who meet higher standards of ethics and conduct.
“Banks support the introduction of higher minimum qualifications, a new exam for all financial advisers, a new supervision year for new financial advisers, mandated continuous professional development requirements and a model code of ethics for all financial advisers,” she said.
“Banks1 are helping to fast-track the professionalisation of the financial advice industry by agreeing to fund the establishment costs of the new independent body. This will mean that the new professional standards framework can be introduced as soon as possible.”
Ms Tate said banks had already made significant changes to their businesses to lift standards.
“We have led the way on industry reforms including changing how banks hire2 financial advisers, so they know a lot more about the adviser’s conduct history and performance before employing them.
“The aim is to better identify financial advisers who have not met the industry’s minimum legal, conduct and ethical standards, and help ensure Australians can trust they receive financial advice from professional, competent and ethical financial advisers at their bank,” she said.
The ABA’s new protocol for hiring financial advisers is open to all providers of financial advice, and allows signatories to ask a standardised series of questions about the financial adviser’s conduct history, quality of advice, risk management and compliance record.
The banking industry is also working on additional industry standards to ensure that banks can apply the Government’s professional standards framework in their competency and training programs, human resources policies, and compliance frameworks.
“Our efforts as well as the new standards set by the Government will serve to professionalise, and build trust and confidence in financial advice from banks,” Ms Tate said.
Contact: Stephanie Arena 0477 470 677 or Nic Frankham 0435 963 913
1 Financial advice banks are ANZ Banking Group, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Macquarie Group, National Australia Bank, Suncorp Group, and Westpac
2 Reference Checking & Information Sharing Protocol http://www.bankers.asn.au/financial-advice
The ABA has called upon Federal and State Australian governments to work together to combat the ongoing problem of elder financial abuse.