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Greens call on the banks and the other parties to back new Financial Advice Bill

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 2 Sep 2014

Today in the Senate, the Greens Senator for Consumer Affairs, Competition Policy and Small Business, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson will introduce the Corporations Amendment (Financial Advice) Bill 2014 to provide improved definitions for consumers seeking financial advice.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “This Bill is a small step in reforming the legislation that governs the industry by providing consumers with a clear differentiation between personal and general advice.
“It is a direction explored by David Murray in his Financial Systems Inquiry interim report and it is also a position that the Commonwealth Bank has recently advocated.

“The Bill will seek to amend the Corporations Act to help improve consumer information. Under the Corporations Act 2001, financial product advice falls under two categories, personal advice or general advice.

“Our Bill proposes an amendment to the Corporations Act to change the term “general advice” to “general information,” and it will also make it illegal to claim to be giving “advice” when providing only general information.

“This will provide greater clarity for consumers and they will better understand when the advice they are given is tailored to their personal circumstances or when they are simply being told about a product.

“This was a major problem identified in the recent ASIC Senate Inquiry and being raised by submissions to the Financial Systems Inquiry.

“I hope that the banks and the other parties will support the Corporations Amendment (Financial Advice) Bill 2014. It is a small, pragmatic and simple step towards restoring confidence in this important industry,” Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.

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