Australians are set to have more accessible basic personal financial advice through federal government reforms, with super funds, banks, and insurers expected to play a larger role. The overhaul of financial advice regulations aims to reduce the cost of straightforward financial guidance, especially benefiting the approximately five million Australians nearing retirement.
The reforms will introduce a new category of advisers qualified to assist individuals with fundamental aspects, such as pension eligibility. These advisers are likely to be employed by financial institutions, including super funds, life and general insurers, and banks, and are explicitly prohibited from charging fees or commissions. Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones emphasized that this restriction is designed to “help restrict their advice to simple advice.”
While these advisers must still meet government-mandated education standards, the training requirements will be less rigorous than those for providing comprehensive financial advice. Jones stated that this approach will enable institutions to invest in these advisers to meet the scale of demand in Australia.
The decision to involve super funds, banks, and insurers in this expanded role follows a review that highlighted the challenges and expenses associated with obtaining personal financial advice, as only 16,000 qualified individuals were available for such services in Australia.