ASIC extends COVID-19 relief for financial advisers

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Financial Advice

Earlier last month ASIC announced it would extend one of three COVID-19 relief measures enabling the financial advice industry to provide consumers with affordable and timely advice.  Originally announced twelve months ago, ASIC (COVID-19 – Advice – related Relief) Instrument 2020/355 (“the Instrument”), was implemented in response to the uncertain economic impacts of the pandemic.

Recent Updates

In their recent announcement ASIC has extended one of the three measures initially adopted under the Instrument, allowing financial advisers to provide a Record of Advice (“ROA“), rather than a Statement of Advice (“SOA“), to existing clients requiring financial advice due to adverse impacts of the pandemic. The new extended end date for these relief measures is 15 October 2021, as set out in a new legislative instrument ASIC (COVID-19 – Advice – related Relief) Instrument 2021/268

This decision has come after extensive consultation with industry, and ASIC has advised it will continue to monitor the need for the temporary measure with regard to financial product advice.  This may result in the temporary relief being ended earlier or extended further, depending on market conditions.   Sufficient notice will be provided should ASIC decide to repeal the instrument earlier than specified, or to extend the relief.

Background

The Instrument originally implemented three temporary relief measures to facilitate retail clients receiving timely and affordable financial product advice as a result of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic:

These included:

  • relief to facilitate advice about early access to superannuation. This is no longer required as the Government’s Early Release of Superannuation scheme concluded on 31 December 2020;
  • urgent advice measure around the timing of providing a statement of financial advice. Consultation with industry has resulted in this measure not being extended; and
  • allowing financial advisers to provide a record of advice (“ROA“), rather than a statement of advice (“SOA“).

Further reading

If you would like more information on how this amendment will affect you, please contact us.

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