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GRC Professional : GRC Autumn 2012
27 over 10,000 hours at a cost of around $2500 per planner. the prog ram is about building our planners’ ability to uncover customers’ needs and demonstrate the value that their advice provides,” he says. “We have already raised our entry-level requi rement s for both education a nd experience above the industry standard and we will continue to focus on raising the bar on professional standards.” What were the results? spiers admits there were complications during the implementation of fee for service. however, these were swiftly identified and no cu stomers were i mpa cted. there has also been a fundamental shift in the attitudes of financial planners, spiers adds. “their focus is now on the value of providing high-quality, strategic advice.” Consequently, in the immediate months followi ng implement ation, Westpac saw an upswing of 41 per cent in planner fees and new business has grown by 30 per cent. according to spiers, planners are conducting more first interv iews per week and the demand for advice has risen. internally, he continues, the response has been ver y positive. and from the customer’s point of view, Westpac Financial Planning’s initiative shows commitment to safeguarding the integrity of financial advice. this is supported by customer surveys that reveal the new methods are improvi ng cu st omer outcome s. “We will continue to drive changes in our business that improve customer outcomes and the quality and accessibility of advice irrespective of the FoFa reform and mandated implementation dates,” Spiers says. ••• We will continue to drive changes in our business that improve customer outcomes and the quality and accessibility of advice irrespective of the FOFA reform and mandated implementation dates. Key dates June 2012 Assuming the FOFA Bills are passed by the Senate before 1 July 2012, ASIC aims to release regulatory guidance on the following topics: • ASIC powers: ASIC will re-issue Regulatory Guide 98 Licensing; Administrative action against financial services providers (RG 98) to reflect its expanded powers to cancel or suspend an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence and ban representatives. • The best interests duty: Guidance will set out ASIC’s expectations for meeting the best interests duty. • Giving information and advice (including scaled advice): Guidance will aim to increase access to advice by facilitating the provision of scaled advice where appropriate. This guidance will take into account the best interests duty and discuss a range of topics, including how the fact find can be either limited or expanded depending on the complexity of the advice being provided. ASIC will also build on its proposed guidance in Consultation Paper 164 Additional guidance about how to scale advice (CP 164), and guidance in Regulatory Guide 200 Advice for super fund members (RG 200). • Conflicted remuneration: Guidance will assist the industry to understand the practical operation of the ban on conflicted remuneration and how ASIC will administer the ban. 1 July 2012 AFS Licensees that choose to comply with FOFA reforms from 1 July 2012 (and before 30 June 2013) will need to notify ASIC. ASIC willdevelop a process for notifying it. 1 July 2013 FOFA reforms become mandatory. ASIC says it will adopt a measured approach where participants are making reasonable efforts to comply and inadvertently breach legislation due to a misunderstanding of requirements or systems issues. Where there are deliberate and systemic breaches, however, ASIC will take stronger regulatory action.
GRC Summer 2012
GRC Winter 2012