Policy

ABOUTThe Digital Advice Expert Group has been formed with the goal of defining digital financial advice in an Australian context, and helping shape the policy environment to support its adoption. Digitally delivered financial advice is now widely accepted as a critical component in the Australian government’s policy goals of increasing the accessibility and affordability of advice in general, and especially towards the goal of seeing superannuation funds delivering much larger volumes of advice to their members.WHAT IS DIGITAL ADVICE?Digital advice is not a special form of advice; it is the digital delivery of personal financial advice whether guidance or general advice through to personal advice. It operates within the existing advice regulatory framework.Its distinct characteristic is the use of technology to undertake parts or even all of the advice process: gathering data, understanding a consumer’s circumstances and objectives, developing a recommended strategy, and an appropriate manner of implementing the strategy (which may or may not involve product recommendations).While the entire advice process can be automated, in many cases digital advice is combined with a human adviser, and/or employee or call centre support, to deliver the confirmation that many consumers value, especially with more complex topics such as retirement.By combining the best aspects of technology and people, digital advice can make advice available to far more Australians, at far lower cost than traditional financial advisers. It works alongside traditional advisers, and other professions such as accounting, and employers, who continue to play an important role, and make advice possible once more for everyday Australians.DIGITAL ADVICE EXPERT GROUP MEMBERSHIPWe welcome representatives from financial technology advice providers to join the group. Please reach out via the FSC for membership details.FSC CONTACTFor more information please contact;Zach CastlesPolicy Director, Advice & PlatformsP: 0421 640 562E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. document.getElementById('cloak113f92172ffb3cb08792cfb4e3448bef').innerHTML = ''; var prefix = 'ma' + 'il' + 'to'; var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '='; var addy113f92172ffb3cb08792cfb4e3448bef = 'zcastles' + '@'; addy113f92172ffb3cb08792cfb4e3448bef = addy113f92172ffb3cb08792cfb4e3448bef + 'fsc' + '.' + 'org' + '.' + 'au'; var addy_text113f92172ffb3cb08792cfb4e3448bef = 'zcastles' + '@' + 'fsc' + '.' + 'org' + '.' + 'au';document.getElementById('cloak113f92172ffb3cb08792cfb4e3448bef').innerHTML += ''+addy_text113f92172ffb3cb08792cfb4e3448bef+''; OBJECTIVESRepresentationWork within the FSC in proposing policy and responding to draft policy from regulators and governmentStandard settingRaise awareness and understanding of definition of digital advice, and its benefits for consumers and stakeholdersCollaborationWork with industry bodies, associations and traditional financial advice providers to advance adoption of digital adviceBest practiceFacilitate the exchange of digital advice knowledge and insights from overseas and within Australia to inform industry standards and end-state objectivesPromote adoptionEncourage financial institutions, large and small, to integrate digital financial advice within their customer propositions to provide greater accessibility, affordability and choice for Australians seeking secure financial futuresFOUNDING MEMBERSandrew bakerGlobal Head of Strategy & Corporate ServicesIgnition AdviceAndrew has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry including founding industry consulting firm Tria Investment Partners, and subsequently senior roles with AustralianSuper, QSuper, and NMG Consulting’s London practice. Andrew develops and executes Ignition’s business and financial strategy and acts as Ignition’s policy subject matter expert.George HaramisFiduciary Co-Founder & CEOMONEYGPSGeorge has over 30 years of financial services experience in senior executive roles managing some of the country’s largest and most successful financial advisory business, including; Perpetual Private Clients, Head of Advice & Investments at ANZ Private Bank, Managing Director of RetireInvest – Australia’s only Franchised Advice business, Principal of Mercer Global Consulting and managed Sealcorp’s advice business Securitor, as well as establishing the Asgard Corporate division.Jacqui HendersonDigital ADVICE CONSULTANTCHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER, INTELLIGENCEINK Jacqui’s 20+ years’ experience in private wealth & fintech, coupled with her professional background in the telco & technology industries sparked pioneering her venture into digital advice. Jacqui is passionate about the digital advice client experience, human behavioural science, and AI – all of which were founding principles of her innovative Advice Intelligence software. She consults to financial advice firms & institutions in developing their digital advice strategy; specialising in client experience journeys, target service & operating models, through to technology implementation.Jason NyilasExecutive AdviserMoneyGPSJason has a wealth management and pensions background from his time in Australia and overseas over the course of 30 years. He has worked in industry and in professional services firms focusing on strategy, marketing, operations, M&A and digital transformations for wealth and retirement firms in the US, the UK, Malaysia and Australia. 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The FSC Women in Investment Management Charter (WIM Charter) introduced in 2021 builds on the FSC Guidance Note 38 – Improving Gender Balance in Investment Management Teams (GN38) and the gender diversity resource library, which have been developed to provide members with practical tools and guidance to support greater gender balance within investment management teams. The 2023 FSC Diversity Survey found that women comprise 29 per cent of investment teams amongst respondent fund managers. This compares to investment team representation of 25 per cent in the first year the survey was conducted and 27 per cent in the 2022 survey. The survey of 16 global and domestic fund manager members found that all wanted to improve diversity in investment teams, with the majority (94 per cent) tracking gender diversity statistics within their organisation and 88 per cent tracking gender diversity within their investment teams. For more findings, pdf download the 2023 Gender Diversity Survey infographic. Women in Investment Management Charter To help support greater gender balance in these roles, the FSC WIM Charter introduces accountability and transparency mechanisms to enable organisations to achieve their desired, self-nominated gender diversity target within their investment management teams. Signatories adopt the following four principles: appoint a senior executive from the investment management team who is responsible and accountable for gender diversity within the investment management team; set internal targets for gender diversity in the investment management division; monitor and report annually on progress against targets and demonstrate an intention to link staff pay to delivery against the gender diversity target. The framework for the WIM Charter is based on the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter (UK Charter), a pledge to improve the gender balance across financial services in the United Kingdom. While the focus of the UK Charter is broader and is aimed at increasing gender balance in senior management, the WIM Charter is focused specifically on gender balance in investment management teams. Eight WIM Charter Signatories We are pleased to have eight members collectively managing more than $600 billion in assets under management sign this voluntary initiative to date: AllianceBernstein Australia Limited; Australian Ethical Investment Ltd; Challenger Limited; First Sentier Investors; Mercer; QIC Limited; Russell Investment Group and State Street Global Advisors Australia Limited. Further details on the WIM Charter are included in FSC Guidance Note 38 – Improving Gender Balance in Investment Management Teams (GN38). FSC Women in Investment Management Charter Through the FSC Women in Investment Management Charter, we provide industry leadership to ensure more women can secure careers in investment management teams – because today, the numbers are still low. See more below. Accelerating the growth of women in investment management The FSC was pleased to host a policy briefing on accelerating the growth of women in investment management webinar on 22 November 2022. Moderated by Sam Hallinan, CEO Australia, Schroders and panellists, including: Camilla Love, F3 0 Future Females in Finance Yolanda Beattie, Founder, Future IM/Pact Jaya Ong, Investment Analyst, Cambooya All sharing great insights into the opportunities and challenges faced by the industry to help achieve greater gender balance in investment teams. The themes discussed included how the industry can better support and accelerate women's careers in investment management and what changes or areas of focus fund management businesses can implement to shift the dial and support greater gender balance. Please watch the video below to hear more insights into this important topic.

. The Genetics Moratorium Review  In June 2019, the FSC introduced the Moratorium on Genetic Tests in Life Insurance. The Moratorium allows people to take out life insurance cover up to prescribed limits, without having to disclose an adverse result of a genetic test. The Moratorium is currently set to run until 30 June 2024, and the FSC is currently conducting a review with a view to extending it.  The FSC has called for submissions from key stakeholders with a deadline of 4pm Friday, 29 July 2022. A copy of the Review Paper can be downloaded here. Submissions once received will be published below.  .

The Life Insurance Code of Practice is now the responsibility of the Council of Australian Life Insurers (CALI). More information can be found here. For insurance consumers, the independent Life Code Compliance Committee (LCCC), administered by the Australian Financial Complaints Authority, will continue to ensure that the Life Code’s principles are upheld and enforced. Consumers are encouraged to contact the LCCC at lifeccc.org.au in relation to any individual insurance matters. 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1.    Background and Context On the 3rd of March 2022, the Federal Government announced, that in light of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and the continuing escalation of sanctions imposed against Russia in response, that it has strong expectations that Australian superannuation funds will review their investment portfolios and take steps to divest holdings in Russian assets. The Financial Services Council (FSC) supports the Federal Government’s expectation that the superannuation industry divests Russian assets as part of broader global economic sanctions to address the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. The FSC acknowledges the close integration of superannuation and non-superannuation investment assets, as such the FSC has developed this for both superannuation trustees and fund managers, that invest capital directly or indirectly on behalf of superannuation trustees, to meet the Government’s expectations. 2.   Date of Issue This Guidance was issued 5 April 2022. 3.   Commencement This Guidance commences on the date that it is issued and is intended to set out guiding principles for: superannuation trustees; asset managers directly investing superannuation capital; and asset managers operating managed investment schemes with superannuation funds as investors; to give effect to the divestment of Russian assets consistent with the Government’s expectations and respective legal obligations.  4.    Steps that Trustees will take Whilst ensuring that they comply with all legal obligations, Superannuation Trustees seeking to follow the Federal Government advice should consider how best to take the following steps (some of which may have already been implemented): implement all sanctions on Russia imposed by Australia; prohibit the purchase of new investments in Russian Assets; review their investment processes for making decisions on the divestment of Russian Assets; develop a plan to divest Russian Assets as market conditions permit that is consistent with their legal duties; divest direct portfolio holdings of Russian securities in accordance with their members’ best financial interests; divest from, and prohibit the use of, new derivatives or structured arrangements that undermine the expectation of divesting Russian Assets, as market conditions allow; derivatives and Russian exposures obtained through structured vehicles will also be unwound or closed out, as market conditions allow; have appropriate compliance resources to achieve these objectives; and review product disclosures to ensure they remain appropriate and consistent with legal obligations. 5.    What is a Russian Asset? Russian assets include: Public market assets including listed equities, hard currency and local currency Russian sovereign debt, and fixed income securities issued by Russian corporations. Superannuation Trustees may rely on the country classification by an independent market index or data provider such as MSCI, S&P, FTSE, Russell or Bloomberg for the purposes of identifying Russian public market assets; Private market assets domiciled in Russia such as private equity or unlisted assets domiciled in Russia; Co-mingled products where greater than 50% of the underlying assets by market value are Russian domiciled assets; and Russian currency balances. 6.    Issues in relation to ownership and control Superannuation assets are invested through different structures and with different investment strategies, including directly held assets, external mandates, actively or passively managed investments and co-mingled investment arrangements with Australian and international fund managers. Superannuation Trustees ability to divest Russian Assets will be influenced by the degree to which they own assets, whether outright or co-mingled, or have control over assets. Where a Superannuation Trustee has ownership and control they will divest Russian Assets in accordance with the policies and processes they will establish as per Section 7 of this Guidance. Where the Superannuation Trustee does not have the ownership or the control to divest, the Superannuation Trustee will consider the degree of ownership, control and influence they have in determining what actions are to be taken with respect to Russian Assets. This includes consideration of whether to exit investment in the fund as well as fiduciary and legal duties. Superannuation Trustees will also do this in an orderly fashion which continues to meet the best financial interests of members. For example: They will identify public market assets that they directly hold or have control over through the investment mandate and direct the asset manager to divest when market conditions allow, and in a manner consistent with their duties; and Where they do not have the ability to control the investment, for example the Superannuation Trustee is a minority unit holder in a fund, they will strongly request the asset manager to divest of Russian Assets, noting that in such circumstances the ultimate decision and process for divestment rests with the investment manager and who is also subject to their own legal, fiduciary and responsible entity duties. 7.    Trustees defining the divestment processes that they will undertake Superannuation Trustees will implement an approach to identify which Russian Assets will be wound down and divested as market conditions permit and in a manner consistent with their duties. Public market assets: For public market assets this will identify which securities will be divested. Private market assets: In relation to private market assets domiciled in Russia Superannuation Trustees will establish the level of revenue or assets that will identify which private market assets are to be divested as market conditions permit. Derivatives: Superannuation Trustees will not use derivatives or structured arrangements to undermine divestment of Russian Assets. Russian currency: For the avoidance of doubt the cash proceeds from divestment will be repatriated out of Russia in accordance with best financial interest obligations and as market conditions allow.   

REDUCING THE COST OF PROVIDING FINANCIAL ADVICE BY ALMOST 40 PER CENT  Our White Paper on financial advice – available here – outlines the FSC’s platform to reduce the cost of advice and unnecessary regulation and duplication.TIMELINE FOR REFORM OF THE FINANCIAL ADVICE SECTORBY 2023BY 2026BY 2030> Safe harbour steps abolished > Code of Ethics amended > Letter of Advice with scalable advice obligations introduced > Statement of Advice and Record of Advice abolished > Wholesale client asset test threshold increased and indexed > Breach reporting framework revised > Consult and clarify framework for licensees and advisers to support individual registration Regulatory Guidance to become more exemplary than prescriptive > ASIC Advice Unit established > Legislate personal advice and general information – abolish redundant terms and separate product from advice > Update licensing and registration framework > Introduction of a ‘practising certificate’ > Prior learning and equivalent pathways recognised > Accreditation to be conducted by universities and Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) Commencement of principles-based regulatory framework > Tax deductibility or rebate for all financial advice > Self-regulation by the industry > Principles-based regulatory framework fully implemented > Increased role for professional bodies and industry standardsONGOING REFORMS> Data standardisation > Measures to enable financial advice providers to access consumer dataKPMG determined that the advice process costs $5334.64. Their analysis shows that should the FSC’s core recommendations (abolition of the safe harbour steps, introduction of a Letter of Advice, and relabeling of advice definitions) be fully implemented that: The cost of providing financial advice will be reduced by almost $2000 or by 35-37 per cent.Save financial advisers up to 32 per cent of their time when providing advice to clients.Allow advisers to provide advice to an additional 44 new clients each year.Time required to complete the advice process would reduce from 23.9 hours to under 16.8 hours per consumer, allowing advisers to focus on what they do best – support consumers.  DOWNLOAD THE WHITE PAPERREAD THE MEDIA RELEASEDownload the KPMG research papers here;The Cost Profile of Australia's Financial Advice Industry Final ResearchCost Profile of Australia's Financial Advice Industry Research Result Infographic Summary ._ERbj1g7D { position: relative; } ._nDEv0Ex7 { display: block; width: 100%; margin-bottom: 20px; line-height: 1.5em; 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