Blog: Light-touch regulation needed for advice profession: FSC – Money Management

Advice should be treated with the respect given to doctors or lawyers as the industry has successfully improved itself to become a profession, according to Financial Services Council chief executive Blake Briggs.

Speaking to Money Management, Briggs, who took over as CEO in March after an acting period, said he believed the industry had successful improved its standing with the public.

“[Lawyers and doctors] are treated with the respect they deserve and I think advice is now in that space and should be treated with a lot more respect, particularly in Canberra, than it is by a lot of participants.

“Here is the opportunity to treat it like a profession, treat it with respect, have a lighter-touch regulatory regime and trust the professional judgement of individual advisers. They are the ones who sit down with the clients, who know their best interests and how to deliver them.”

Referencing the Quality of Advice Review, he said he was pleased the Government was acting promptly to assess the impact of the financial services Royal Commission. The challenge for Michelle Levy, he said, would be to establish which issues were going to be her focus from a very broad remit.

“If we had a backward-looking review looking at regulatory change over the last decade, it would be much more difficult to achieve consensus because we’d be picking over the embers of prior battles. What we need to do now is focus on what to do next and what is the regulatory regime appropriate for the future.

“Traditionally reviews result in the ratcheting up of the regulatory overlay but I think there’s optimism that we’re going in the opposite direction. This review is about what sensible changes can be made to deregulate the industry.

“If you look at the journey that advice has been on, so much of it has been about getting the advice industry to a point where it is recognised as a profession and our view is that has worked.

“The regulatory overlay required to get to the profession isn’t the same one you need when it is a profession. So we need a lighter touch regulatory system that reflects the professionalised nature of advice as opposed to the heavy-handed approach that was required to get it.”

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