The Corporations Amendment (Future of Financial Advice) Act 2012 and the Corporations Amendment (Further Future of Financial Advice Measures) Act 2012 (the FOFA Acts) amended the Corporations Act 2001 to implement the Future of Financial Advice reforms. The Acts commenced on 1 July 2012. Compliance with the new measures will be voluntary until 1 July 2013 and mandatory from then on.
Regulations supporting the FOFA Acts are currently being drafted and will be progressively published for consultation.
Three sets of regulations have now been made to support the FOFA legislation: the Corporations Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 4), the Corporations Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 8) and the Corporations Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 10).
On 26 April 2013 the Government responded to the report by the independent expert Mr Richard St. John on Compensation arrangements for consumers of financial services. The Government accepts recommendations to strengthen current compensation arrangements. The implementation of those announced changes is set out in the Media Release.
From 1 July 2016, accountants wanting to provide any financial advice, including advice relating to SMSFs will need to hold an AFSL. Accountants and others will be able to apply for a conditional AFSL customised to authorise advice on a broader range of issues than just SMSFs and also to address some of the cost concerns about coming into the regime. Importantly, anyone would be able to apply for the conditional AFSL. Access would not be restricted to accountants.
While anyone would be able to apply for this conditional AFSL, given the large volume of accountants expected to be entering the regime between now and 1 July 2016, streamlining arrangements will be put in place to facilitate the transition. These streamlining arrangements will speed up the process of obtaining an AFSL for an accountant by removing the need for ASIC to consider whether each individual accountant has the necessary experience to provide certain kinds of advice.
Further information on accountant's exemption can be found on the website of the Hon Bill Shorten MP.
Treasury has undertaken extensive targeted consultation on key aspects and implementation details of the reforms through one-on-one consultations with stakeholders and meetings of the peak consultation group, which comprised peak industry bodies in the financial sector and consumer advocates. The consultation process has been instrumental in working through implementation details and developing the Government's thinking.
In addition to targeted consultations, Treasury held two rounds of public information sessions on the reform package in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Treasury also held a further round of public information sessions following the public exposure of the draft legislation.
The public information sessions were designed to provide an update on consultation outcomes and to give stakeholders an opportunity to ask questions and raise issues.
Consultation was also undertaken on the issue of compensation arrangements, with submissions sought both in response to the Consultation Paper released in April 2011 and to the final report released in May 2012. Copies of public submissions received in response to those processes are available on this website.