Regulators’ Approach ‘Undermining’ Advice Profession – AFA


The AFA has highlighted wording contained in a recent APRA and ASIC letter to Registrable Superannuation Entity licensees that the association sees as further undermining the reputation of the financial advice profession.

The AFA’s Acting CEO Phil Anderson says, in a statement, that the latest APRA and ASIC letter to RSE licensees (which advised that trustees were expected to review client SOAs) also contained the following wording:

“Reliance on attestations by financial advisers or advice licensees that services have been provided has limitations due to the potential for conflicts of interest, so cannot in all circumstances be relied upon.”

Phil Anderson…calling for financial advisers and superannuation funds to argue against this “excessive, unnecessary, and costly interference by the regulators”.

Anderson sees this as wording that “further undermines the reputation of the financial advice profession, suggesting trustees shouldn’t trust advisers”.

Concerns raised

The AFA statement says it has raised concerns about the regulators’ letter to RSE licensees, on 30 June 2021, which advised that trustees were expected to review client SOAs as part of their obligations in respect to oversight of advice fees charged to members’ superannuation accounts.

…the AFA believes that trustee reviews of SOAs is unreasonable and may be a breach of the Privacy Act…

Anderson says the AFA believes that trustee reviews of SOAs is unreasonable and may be a breach of the Privacy Act.

“An SOA is an agreement between a client and their financial adviser and contains a great deal of personal information about the client that should not be shared with trustees.”

The AFA statement says that in early June 2021, APRA, when responding to a Question on Notice from Senator Slade Brockman following a Senate Estimates hearing, “appeared to deflect the issue”.

The AFA says that Senator Brockman asked about the requests for copies of SOAs: To what extent is APRA aware of these practices and what steps have you taken to address the issue that the provision of such information by financial advisers might breach the privacy obligations?

And that APRA’s response on 1 June 2021 was: We understand there is a range of practices employed by trustees in this area and APRA has not been prescriptive in describing how trustees should do this.

Anderson says that for APRA and ASIC to [recently] reinforce that trustees should be reviewing client SOAs is “confusing, and a matter of great concern”.

“Not only does this requirement for trustees ignore the Privacy Act obligations, therefore putting clients at risk, it is also excessive and will add to the already significant administrative burden on financial advisers.”

He says that the AFA is calling for financial advisers and superannuation funds to argue against this “excessive, unnecessary, and costly interference by the regulators”.


  1. Yes, things have gotten way out of control with legislation to drive out advisers who serve the low and medium end and regulators who are trying to make super fund trustees liable for advice and the life of trustees and advisers a misery.

    It was great sport to bash advisers and we deserved some of it but now the damage to society is becoming excessive. Too many consumers can’t get insurance and investment advice any more.

  2. The regulators motivation is obvious, they want to weed out bad apples. I understand that.
    Their methods are creating too much damage to the good apples though. Maybe their motives are to reduce adviser numbers so much that they can reset the industry? Sounds crazy but then again why are they doing such crazy stuff?

    Promoting fear of bad advisers in the news is damaging the industry enough…..but now they’re putting into policy. “Don’t trust advisers they are all riddled with conflicts of interest”

    Financial Advice – The Only Industry With Conflicts of Interest!!

  3. The problem is that ASIC just keeps adding costs so who is going to pay for the super funds to review SOA’s and at what cost? What are the qualifications of the reviewers? What are the elements to be reviewed?
    If ASIC and APRA want to generate millions of self managed super funds this is the way to do it.
    Costs will come back to the consumer and their super plan not anyone else

  4. I seriously give up now…the conflicts of interest by the current Government, ASIC and APRA are as clear as the nose on Pinocchio’s face yet the heat can continue to be thrown at advisers day after day without even so much as a whimper. Despite the brilliant job we do do, we’ve simply become nothing but pawns of a political and financial agenda. I could not be more disheartened by a regulator or Treasurer and Government than I am now.

  5. Peter at RiskInfo….can you please remove previous ‘Just About Done Now’ comments?

    I’m totally withdrawing from this wretched industry once I (hopefully) get past this FASEA Exam and see no point in trying to “fight the fight” anymore. I am done. The fight’s no longer fair or justified.

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