In media release No 2011/027, issued 10 February 2011, the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Bill Shorten, announced that he had met with representatives from the financial planning, tax and accounting bodies, Treasury, the Tax Practitioners Board and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to discuss how financial planners who provide tax agent services as part of financial planning advice should be regulated.
This meeting was the second such meeting that has been held and is part of ongoing consultation that started in November 2010 with the release of an options paper by the Assistant Treasurer on the most appropriate means of regulating financial planners who also provide tax advice. The meeting followed consideration of submissions received during the consultation.
Meeting participants agreed that the following principles should underpin the development of new regulatory arrangements:
- Consumer protection is a key consideration.
- Competency of financial planners to provide tax services is a means of ensuring that quality advice is provided and that consumers of these services are protected.
- ASIC would, as far as practicable, be the key agency for interacting with financial planners and consumers in relation to tax services provided as part of financial planning services. This would minimise duplication and red tape.
- ASIC would be supported by a strong and collaborative arrangement with the Tax Practitioners Board to utilise expertise (tax and finance), and ensure that streamlined approaches can be implemented as far as possible.
The Government will continue to consult with industry throughout the development of this model and in the lead up to the release of Exposure Draft legislation for public consultation. There will be another meeting between the Minister and industry representatives within the next two months.