Draft code of conduct for financial advice underway

The Financial Advice Code Working Group (Working Group) has released an update on the progress of its consultation on a Code of Professional Conduct for Financial Advice Services (Code). The Code will set out minimum standards of professional conduct that must be demonstrated when regulated financial advice is given.

This will be of interest to all financial advisers, businesses providing financial advice and anyone who made a submission during the consultation process. The Working Group encourages those interested in the Code to sign up to their mailing list to receive updates on the process.

Read our previous news alert on the Working Group’s consultation paper.

What the update covers

The update provides an overview of the consultation process and the Working Group’s next steps. The main points to note are:

  • roadshows: approximately 800 people attended the Working Group’s roadshow meetings. These were held at various locations throughout the country;
  • submissions on the consultation paper: around 160 submissions were received in response to the Working Group’s consultation paper. The Working Group has been collating and reading these submissions and considering the various points that have been raised;
  • consumer survey: a consumer survey was conducted to give the Working Group an understanding of consumers’ experiences with financial advice and insight into consumer expectations; and
  • draft Code as next milestone: the Working Group is currently still in the process of analysing feedback and deciding how best to reflect the information received in the draft Code. It stated that developing the draft Code standards will be the “next major milestone” for the Working Group. These will be coloured by the consultation submissions.

What’s next

The Working Group intends to publish the consultation submissions. It will also be meeting with some practising advisers for additional input on the draft Code.

Further, the timing of the Working Group’s consultation on the draft Code standards will take place after the Economic Development, Science and Innovation Select Committee has reported back to Parliament on the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Bill (FSLAB).

Our view

The Economic Development, Science and Innovation Select Committee is due to report back on the FSLAB on 31 July 2018. We note that according to the Working Group’s original timeline, consultation on the draft Code was expected to take place in mid-2018 with approval and publication of the Code to occur at the end of the year.

In light of the Working Group’s update, we expect to see a slight delay in the publication of the draft Code standards, which will likely impact the implementation timeframe for FSLAB generally (given other legislative timeframes drive off the Code approval date). As with other sector stakeholders, we await the opportunity to consult on the draft Code standards with keen interest.

If you have any questions in relation to the consultation process, or the Code, please contact one of our experts.

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