15 SEPT - BREAKING DDO NEWS: Nil complaints reports will be dropped; DDO won’t apply to employers issuing staff with default super; the personal advice exemption is being fixed. We’ve advocated strongly for this red tape to be removed, and welcome these amendments which will assist the efficient start of the mandatory regime on 5 October.  

ASIC insiders are calling October 5 “Black Tuesday.” For FSC members and other financial services firms working around the clock to meet the deadline for several major new legal regimes, the humour is very dark indeed. 

While grateful for ASIC’s pledge to take a “reasonable” approach to initial enforcement of the raft of reforms starting next month, we know the work readying systems has been exhausting, expensive and eye-wateringly complex. With other financial services industry organisations, including the Insurance Council of Australia, the Australian Banking Association, and the Australian Finance Industry Association, we are developing an infographic we’ve called the “mega-death star,” illustrating the (often rushed) accumulation of competing, doubled-up and bolted on laws and regulations impacting our members’ businesses.  

The FSC, working with dozens of our members, has developed some solutions. Take financial advice. The tangled overlay of regs and laws – aka the Gordian Knot – can be significantly streamlined if the Government accepts the sensible cost-cutting reforms in our White Paper on Financial Advice, which we are launching next month.  

The FSC’s Life Insurance Code of Practice 2.0 is almost ready after two years of solid work with consumer groups and industry, a truly transformative piece of work of which we are immensely proud. So too is the work we have undertaken over the past 18 months on the mandatory Design & Distribution Obligations (DDO) regime, which reaches into every part of financial services’ businesses. Most of our 111 members as well as 280 firms which are not FSC members will use the Target Market Determination (TMD) templates and data standards we developed, with the goal of achieving as much alignment and simplicity as possible across industry. See here for access to our TMD templates and data standards.  

In a critical effort to get more women into careers running money, again, with our members the FSC has developed the Women in Investment Management Charter (WIM Charter) which helps fund managers achieve gender targets in their investment management teams. We are already grappling with the low numbers of women leading ASX300 companies, so we’re determined to increase gender diversity in financial services, particularly fund managers.  

Our purpose as an expert, specialised policy and advocacy organisation is to make sure our members' businesses can run as efficiently as possible, and as many Australians as possible can exercise choice to access high quality, reliable products and services to enhance and protect their wealth. To achieve this, we hold lawmakers to account in the face of sometimes poor decisions – like DDO’s “nil complaints” reporting, which threatens to overload systems with millions of reports informing regulators that nothing has gone wrong. An unintended consequence which will push up costs and protect not a single consumer, this one should go.

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