ASIC announced yesterday that a new register is to be launched on its MoneySmart website on 31 March 2015.

It is proposed that the new register will allow investors, employers and ASIC to check the authorisations and credentials of financial advisers.  It is intended that the new register will improve transparency to help improve consumer confidence in the financial advice industry.

ASIC currently maintains registers of licensees and their authorised representatives.  However, the current register does not contain information about employed financial advisors. 

The new register will contain details of all people employed or authorised by Australian financial services licensees who are authorised to provide personal financial advice to retail clients on Tier 1 products.  Tier 1 products are financial products other than basic banking products, general insurance products or consumer credit insurance products or a combination of any of those products.

It was previously announced that information on the new register will include:

  • the adviser’s name, registration number, status and experience;  
  • the advisers’ qualifications and professional association memberships;  
  • the adviser’s licensee, previous licensees/authorised representatives and business name;
  • what product areas the adviser can provide advice on;  
  • any bans, disqualifications or enforceable undertakings; and  
  • details around ownership of the financial services licensee and disclosure of the ultimate parent company where applicable.

The establishment of the public register of financial advisers is the Government’s response to recommendation 44 of the Senate Economics References Committee into the performance of ASIC.  The establishment of the register was also part of an agreement entered into by the Government last year with the Palmer United Party and the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party on improvements to financial advice laws.

It is expected that the Government will shortly make regulations regarding the register.  ASIC says that it is working with licensees and authorised representatives to help them provide the required information according to the timetable in the proposed regulations.

In order to prepare for the 31 March 2015 start date, Australian financial services licensees should ensure that they collect all the relevant information about their authorised representatives and representatives.