Eugene Ardino, CEO at Lifespan Financial Planning, joins ifa podcast host Maja Garaca Djurdjevic, to discuss why he believes the pendulum of change is swinging in favour of advisers in 2023.
He gives his overview of some of the key recommendations made by Michelle Levy in the Quality of Advice Review, and details why he believes it will take at least a couple of years for some of the reforms resulting from the review to be implemented.
Eugene Ardino, hopes the government will take a closer look at Michelle Levy’s recommendation to allow superannuation funds, banks and insurers back into advice.
The Quality of Advice Review (QAR) lead, Ms Levy, has suggested that non-relevant providers won’t be stepping on advisers’ toes. It is, however, still unclear how the government views her recommendation, with Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones yet to release his assessment.
Mr Ardino said that this recommendation could present a “clear conflict of interest”.
“I think that’s the one area that I think that really needs to be looked at,” Mr Ardino said. “That was kind of what the general advice framework was for. The idea was if you’re employed by a product provider, you can give very basic general advice with a general advice warning, and it’s essentially limited to product, et cetera”.
“Look, I don’t have the exact answer as to what will work there, but I just think there need to be some fairly clear limitations as to what non-relevant providers can and can’t advise on if we’re going to go down that path,” he noted.
Mr Ardino suggested that perhaps, rather than removing general advice entirely, “we could tweak it a little bit to make it fit for what we want it to do now” — to allow product providers to give basic information without the presence of a senior adviser.
“I actually think the general advice framework is reasonably well suited to that almost as it is,” Mr Ardino opined.
There is also a fear, he noted, regarding an individual’s distinction between general and personal advice.
“The fear is also I think people are worried about letting their staff give general advice and them being accused of having given personal advice.
“It’s all well and good to try to give certainty, but I don’t think we can just open it up to be able to do whatever you like. That’s the part that I would definitely tweak and I think a lot of stakeholders in our community have also voiced their concern on that. I’m not the only one,” Mr Ardino said.
Mr Ardino also touches on Ms Levy’s latest admission that she was surprised by the extent to which advisers feel under siege.