AFS licensees urged to correct records on the Financial Advisors Register

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is urging AFS licensees to ensure the accuracy of their records in relation to their financial advisors on the Financial Advisers Register. This follows a review which found many inconsistencies and errors in the information provided.

It is a serious offence to knowingly provide false or misleading information to ASIC or fail to take reasonable steps to ensure the correctness of such information.

Some common errors identified by ASIC include:

  • some of the qualifications marked as ‘approved’ did not accurately match the wording of the course in the Corporations (Relevant Providers Degrees, Qualifications and Courses Standard) Determination 2021 (the Determination),

  • some of the qualifications marked as ‘approved’ were not approved qualifications, they were professional designations (e.g. ‘Certified Financial Planner’),

  • some of the qualifications marked as ‘approved’ were not, in isolation, approved qualifications, they were bridging courses. These may be listed in the Determination but are required to be coupled with another qualification to meet the requirements of the professional standard, and

  • some of the qualifications marked as ‘approved’ were not approved qualifications under the Determination (examples include: the Financial Adviser Exam, Australian Qualifications Framework 1-5 qualifications, and Regulatory Guide 146 training/qualifications).

In light of the above, licensees should review the information they have recorded on the Financial Advisers Register and check the qualifications of their financial advisers, their ability to provide financial services, as well as basic information such as their business address and phone number. If any information is incorrect, ASIC urges licensees to update the information by lodging a ‘maintain’ transaction on ASIC Connect.

Bellrock strongly recommends AFS licensees ensure that these steps are taken prior to 1 August 2024. From this date, ASIC will conduct a compliance program to check that information is correct and take enforcement action where necessary. From 1 January 2026, all financial advisors must comply with the qualification standard through completing an approved qualification or by completing qualifications deemed equivalent to an approved qualification by the minister.

A minor update has also been made regarding the information displayed on the Financial Advisers Register. From 1 July, the public-facing register will not disclose whether a financial adviser’s education or training meets the ‘approved’ qualification requirements. ASIC claims this is to “reduce confusion and minimise risks to consumers”.

For full details and more information, see ASIC’s media release here.

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