Advisers urged to ensure registration by 31 December 2018

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has reminded financial advisers, who are currently authorised, to make sure that they are on ASIC’s Financial Advisers Register no later than 31 December 2018, before new professional standards requirements take effect.

Professional standards reforms for financial advisers were introduced in March 2017 to raise the education, training and ethical standards of people providing personal advice to retail clients on more complex financial products and the new requirements will be implemented progressively from 1 January 2019.

Under the reforms, only financial advisers who were authorised at any time between 1 January 2016 and 1 January 2019, and who are not prohibited from providing advice on 1 January 2019, will be recognised as an ‘existing provider’. Financial advisers can demonstrate they are an ‘existing provider’ by having a status of ‘current’ on the Financial Advisers Register at any time in this period. Without recognition as an ‘existing provider’, financial advisers will be treated as ‘new entrants’ to the industry.

From 1 January 2019, new entrants will have to meet new education and training requirements to be able to provide advice to clients. They will have to complete an approved qualification and pass an exam before they can be authorised to provide advice, and they will also have to complete a year of supervised work and training.

Registration on the Financial Advisers Register is the responsibility of the Australian financial services (AFS) licensees who authorise financial advisers. Authorised financial advisers should speak to their AFS licensees to ensure that they are on the Register before the deadline. Financial advisers can check if they are already registered by visiting the Financial Advisers Register. More information on new requirements that take effect next year can be found at Professional standards for financial advisers – reforms.