The Government and ASIC have delayed key adviser reforms

Alex Burke,  Senior Writer,  No More Practice Education

In a statement last week, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced that the timeline for implementation of the remaining Royal Commission recommendations would be deferred for six months.

Frydenberg said doing so will allow the broader financial services industry to "focus their efforts on planning for the recovery and supporting their customers and their staff during this unprecedented time."

As per the deferral, measures scheduled for introduction by June 30 will now be introduced in December. Those scheduled for December will, in turn, be introduced by 30 June 2021.

Frydenberg's statement explained: "This announcement today balances the need to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission with the need to ensure our financial institutions are in a position to devote their resources to responding to the significant challenges posed by the coronavirus."

Delaying the implementation timetable will likely come as a relief to the advice industry, beset as it currently is by requests unique to the pandemic situation. Along with Frydenberg's announcement, ASIC has also said it will be deferring another key reform relevant to advice: the design and distribution obligations.

The obligations were originally commencing on 5 April 2021 and will now be introduced in October of that year.

"In making this decision," the regulator explained, "ASIC also had regard to the important protections for consumers that these requirements introduce.

"We expect entities will continue preparing for commencement on the extended timeline. ASIC has also conveyed our expectations of meeting consumer needs at this time, including directly to lenders and insurers."


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