The Corporations Amendment (Professional Standards of Financial Advisers) Act 2017 (Cth) implements a new professional standards regime to raise the education, training and ethical standards of financial advisers who provide personal advice to retail clients on relevant financial products (ie products other than basic banking products, general insurance products or consumer credit insurance).

The reforms include:

  • new education and training standards (including a requirement to hold a degree; pass an exam and undertake a professional year of work and training);
  • an obligation on AFSL holders to ensure that its relevant providers comply with the new education and training standards and are covered by a compliance scheme;
  • the establishment of a new Code of Ethics;
  • establishment of an independent standards body to administer the reforms; and
  • restrictions on the use of the titles “financial adviser” and “financial planner” such that they can only be used by a person who is authorised to provide personal advice to retail clients on relevant financial products.

The new professional standards will commence on 1 January 2019 with transitional arrangements applying to existing advisers.