ASIC on Thursday announced that it will extend the temporary record of advice COVID-19 relief measure until 15 October, now set out in new legislation, ASIC Corporations (COVID-19—Advice-related Relief) Instrument 2021/268.
“ASIC will extend the relief measure that allows financial advisers to provide a record of advice rather than a statement of advice to existing clients requiring financial advice due to the impact of the pandemic,” the regulator said in a statement.
The record of advice relief measure was rolled out as part of a three-pronged relief package in April last year.
The suite of measures enabled registered tax agents to give advice to existing clients about early access to superannuation without needing to hold an Australian financial services (AFS) licence, and made it more affordable for Australians to access financial advice throughout the pandemic, by reducing the red-tape costs associated with filing statements of advice.
However, the other two measures relating to advice on the government’s early access to superannuation and urgent advice will not be extended.
“This is because the ‘early release of superannuation measure’ is no longer needed because the government’s Early Release of Superannuation Scheme concluded on 31 December 2020,” ASIC said.
“The ‘urgent advice measure’ was not extended following industry feedback that the relief was no longer necessary.”
When ASIC first introduced the measures in April last year, it was criticised for setting an end date, with some calling for the regulator to consider keeping it open, and even instate the measures on a permanent basis.
But with the extension of its record of advice relief measure, ASIC has signalled that permanent iterations of the measures are unlikely, as it withholds the option to cut the last of its relief measures short.
“ASIC will continue to monitor the appropriateness of the temporary relief related to records of advice in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the demand for financial advice,” ASIC said.
“If appropriate, ASIC will end the relief before the six-month period or extend it. ASIC will give sufficient notice to industry before any early repeal or extension is implemented.”
John Buckley is a journalist at Accountants Daily.
Before joining the team in 2021, John worked at The Sydney Morning Herald. His reporting has featured in a range of outlets including The Washington Post, The Age, and The Saturday Paper.