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ASIC offers relief for Victoria’s locked down advisers

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Advisers in Victoria have been given more time to comply with fee disclosure statement and renewal notice obligations under temporary changes made by the Australian Securities and Investments Commissions (ASIC).

ASIC says its “no action position on obligations” are intended to help Victorian advisers who may find it difficult to meet the obligations because of the state’s COVID-19 Stage 4 restrictions.

Victorian advisers will not face regulatory action if they have not provided fee disclosure documents that were due between August 2 and October 26. But they must ensure the documents are given to clients by December 7. This applies to clients who fall under pre-Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) legislation.

For post-FOFA clients, ASIC says advisers must inform them in writing that ongoing fee arrangements have been terminated if fee disclosure documents and renewal notices have not been given by the required deadlines. Advisers must then enter into new fee arrangements with clients.

“ASIC does not have the power to provide an exemption from the [fee disclosure document] and renewal notice obligations or modify how the obligations apply,” the regulator says. “However, to assist these businesses, ASIC has provided a no-action position in relation to these obligations.”

The Association of Financial Advisers has welcomed the moves, saying ASIC has “done everything that they can within the limits of the law to find a solution” for Victorian advisers.

“Broader relief measures are in the hands of the Government and we have communicated with them to explain the difficulties confronting financial advisers and to suggest potential solutions,” the association said.

Click here for more information on the ASIC announcement.