November 14, 2017
ASIC will move ahead with efforts to restrict the use of the term ‘independent’ when referring to advice and has warned those using similar terms to stop doing so by the end of December.
The regulator stated it had updated Regulatory Guide 175 (RG175), which provided guidance on the use of terms such as ‘independently owned’, ‘non-aligned’ and ‘non-institutionally owned’, and they would be restricted under Section 923A of the Corporations Act.
In June 2017, ASIC flagged the terms would become restricted under the Act (see: ASIC Further Restricts Use of ‘Independent’) and announced a six month compliance period for financial service providers who were using the terms to cease doing so.
“ASIC reminds those who are still using these terms but who cannot meet the conditions in s923A that the six month facilitative compliance period will come to an end on 31 December 2017,” the regulator stated.
Under the Corporations Act the restricted terms can only be used by a financial services provider if it does not receive commissions, volume-based payments, or other gifts or benefits, and operate without any conflicts of interest.
The update to RG 175 also covers the introduction of section 923c into the Act which will restrict the use of the titles ‘financial adviser’ and ‘financial planner’ and will only allow those who have met specific educational and professional standards to use the titles.