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ASIC updates guidance on ‘independent’ tag

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Use of the terms financial planner or financial adviser have been included in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s revised Regulatory Guide 175.

It also includes guidance on when the term “independent” can be used by an adviser.

The guide covers licensing of financial product advisers and has been updated to reflect terms such as “independently owned”.

Advisers can use these terms only if they do not receive commissions, volume-based payments or other gifts or benefits, and operate without conflicts of interest.

Advisers rebating commissions in full can retain their independent status.

Non-conforming advisers have until December 31 to remove terms such as “independently owned”, “non-aligned” or “non-institutionally owned” from any documents.

Deputy Chairman Peter Kell says the regulator wants to ensure financial services providers are accurately describing their services.

“Consumers should not be misled into thinking a person is free from conflicts of interest solely because they use terms such as ‘independently owned’,” he said.

Other amendments to the guide include changes to statements of advice that will be included in an updated Regulatory Guide 90.