The Australia Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has extended its temporary relief measures to help the financial advice industry provide consumers with affordable and timely advice during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year, as part of its COVID-19 pandemic response, the government introduced the ASIC Corporations (COVID-19—Advice-related Relief) Instrument 2020/355. One of the relief measures focuses on providing clients with a “record of advice” (ROA), which is a shorter, simpler document that sets out the advice being provided.
ASIC has extended the ROA relief measure until April 15, 2022, allowing financial advisers to provide an ROA, rather than a statement of advice, to existing clients requiring financial advice.
In a statement, ASIC explained that it extended the relief measure after industry consultation identified that extending it would help financial advisers in the current challenging circumstances.
ASIC has also reintroduced a relief measure providing financial advisers with additional time to give their clients a statement of advice after providing time-critical advice. Under this measure, financial advisers have up to 20 business days (instead of five business days).
Like the ROA, this relief measure was reintroduced in response to industry feedback that there is an increased need for time-critical advice due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
ASIC stated that it will continue to monitor the appropriateness of these temporary relief measures as circumstances change and might also consider ending the relief before the six-month period if appropriate. It will also give sufficient notice to the industry before implementing any early repeal.