Are you in the market for financial advice and seeking the services of a financial planner ? If so, the task of choosing a suitable adviser is now much easier because the amount of information available about financial planners  has been bolstered due to regulations passed by the Federal Government in late 2014.
As of 31 March 2015, ASIC is maintaining a Register of Relevant Advisors, which is available via its MoneySmart website . The Register contains details of financial advisers that provide personal financial advice to retail clients on financial products other than:
The information provided in the register will enable you to investigate potential advisers and allow you to check that they are properly authorised prior to receiving financial advice.
The register includes the following information:
- The adviser’s name and registration number;
- The adviser’s qualifications, training and professional memberships;
- Where appropriate, the adviser’s authorises representative and licencee – if, for example, working for a company;
- A recent history of licencees the adviser has acted for in providing retail advice for the last 5 years;
- The products the adviser is authorised to advise on;
- Any bans, disqualification or undertakings – although it should be noted, there is no requirement to make notification of these; and
- If applicable, any persons who control the adviser’s licence
Although the Register became public on 31 May 2015, financial adviser qualifications, training and professional memberships will not form part of the register until June 2015.
ASIC will impose harsh penalties on any non-compliance by financial services providers to maintain the integrity of the information and enable ASIC to monitor all financial advisers in Australia. Over time, this is expected to identify and remove any disreputable advisors.
The register will not only serve consumers, but will assist prospective employers to gather relevant information about advisers and evaluate their skills and qualifications. This should serve to improve the performance of the financially planning sector as a whole. It is hoped that this, along with increased transparency and regulation, will restore faith in an industry where consumer confidence has been eroded.
It is important to note that the Register will not provide any opinion or fact as to whether financial advisers are ‘reputable’ – only that they are properly authorised to provide personal financial advice.
For you, the consumer, this Register is, at the very least, a great tool to assist in your decision making process when evaluating options and verifying choices.