Superannuation advice and regulation in the spotlight

by |

The first Financial Advice in Super Symposium was held in Melbourne on Monday. The Symposium brought together politicians, financial advice professionals and others in the industry to debate major issues affecting the future regulation of financial advice, transition to professionalism for the industry, and the evolving place of financial advice in super.

The first panel of the day debated the topic of financial advice reform - how it will impact on the role and delivery of financial advice; how the different sides of politics view the reforms and what they may seek to change; and ASIC’s plans for implementation.

Keynote speakers included:

  • The Hon Bernie Ripoll MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Federal Member for Oxley
  • Mr Paul Fletcher MP, Federal Member for Bradfield
  • Mr Peter Kell, Commissioner, Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Ripoll was positive about the changes implemented by the Labor Government so far, criticising the Opposition’s lack of support and saying that there had been 12 divisions on the issue of conflicted remuneration alone.

He focused on the rules surrounding scaled advice – simple advice provided by superannuation fund trustees to fund members in relation to their holdings. The reforms stipulate that funds can only charge members collectively for intra-fund advice, and that the advice is subject to the 'best interests' duty and the ban on conflicted remuneration. 

“I’m proud that it was a Labor Government, with support from the cross-benches, which delivered these reforms,” said Ripoll. “This will ensure that the future retirement incomes of hard-working Australians are protected, and the continuing professionalization of the industry is promoted.”

The conflict continued when Fletcher addressed the crowd and slammed the Governments regulations, pointing out holes in the governance of superannuation, and key recommendations from the recent Cooper Review that he said the Government had ignored.

Fletcher addressed conflicts of interest on superannuation fund boards, the temptation to use super funds to advance industrial and political agendas, and the under-representation of retirees and superannuants on fund boards.

“The Coalition has committed to improve superannuation governance, by implementing a series of corporate governance reforms recommended by the Cooper Review but not progressed by Labor,” said Fletcher.

He also said the Coalition planned to provide greater certainty around the provision and availability of scaled advice.