The CEO of the AIOFP, Peter Johnston, reports on the BEST INTEREST DUTY with the BEST ADVICE concept.

What are our views on comparing a BEST INTEREST DUTY with the BEST ADVICE concept Ms Levy has been pushing in her QAR Report and widely in the media?

We think once all the circumstances are considered, Ms Levy has an institutional self – interest with this issue which should be openly declared. Claiming it is all about access to advice for consumers does not cut it, as we have pointed out, no advice from the Institutions has proven to be better than taking their advice over the years in many circumstances. [see attached failed funds]

Unlike a ‘best interests duty’ which is specifically about acting in the best interests of consumers through a retrospective prism, the question of what is ‘good advice’ is subject to other considerations greatly complicating the response.

The notion of ‘how long is a piece of string’ comes to mind.

‘Good advice’ must be considered in the context of the circumstances of the specific consumer, the requirements of the specific consumer and the specific research applied to the advice given to decide whether the advice is ‘good’ or not.

The Oxford definition of ‘good’ in the context of financial advice is ‘financially secure, sound or safe’ all nice sounding words but in reality, the Institution/Adviser must ultimately be able to justify their decision in the courts if challenged.

This legal conjecture is not consumer friendly and exactly what the Institutions and the lawyers want, a long expensive legal battle with each claim to deter consumers from initiating any action.

This ‘lawyers’ picnic/snout in the trough’ scenario is what the ALP wanted to avoid with the 2012 FOFA initiative of a best interests duty, why would you want to bring back the ‘bad old days’ of Institutional product failures where they are not held to account due to the expensive and convoluted process?

We suggest the most consumer friendly path is to give Institutional/Superannuation staff exemption from the Corporations law to give factual information about their own internal products to consumers, anything outside of this they must comply with the current Laws and be held to account for the performance of their own products.


Peter Johnston | Executive Director
Association of Independently Owned Financial Professionals
Suite 1211, 1 Queens Road, Melbourne VIC 3004
P 1800 111 203, d 03 9863 7574, m 0418 857 621 | Download my business card

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