Greens spokesperson for Consumer Affairs, Competition Policy and Small Business, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson provides the following comments on release of the Murray Financial System Inquiry final recommendations today.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The vast number of recommendations contained within the Murray Inquiry to provide better protections to consumers, justifies the strong stance the Greens have taken on the Future of Financial Advice laws (FoFA).
“The Murray Inquiry recommendations are a big warning sign to the government on their pursuit of weaker consumer protections in the financial advice sector: ‘Wrong way. Go back.’
“There is so much more that needs to be done to address systemic failures in the financial advice sector and the big players like Commonwealth and Macquarie Bank who profited from these failures are yet to be called to account.
“At this juncture, the best way of getting to the bottom of these failures and driving change in the sector would come from the government agreeing to the ASIC Senate Inquiry recommendation to hold a Royal Commission.
“I am pleased that Murray called for ‘general advice’ to be renamed, so as to better distinguish between people providing tailored personal advice and those simply selling financial products.
“The Greens this year introduced the Corporations Amendment (Financial Advice) Bill 2014 to provide improved definitions for consumers seeking financial advice. The Bill proposed an amendment to the Corporations Act to change the term ‘general advice’ to ‘general information,’ and it would also make it illegal to claim to be giving ‘advice’ when providing only general information.
“I am disappointed that Murray did not go as far as recommending a National Exam for financial advisers. The Greens strongly support ASIC’s call for a National Exam to raise standards in the industry.
“The recommendations from the Murray Inquiry will feed into the current Greens-initiated Senate Inquiry into Forestry Managed Investment Schemes, particular the specific recommendations relating to illiquid funds and new product intervention powers.
“The Greens will be looking closely at all the Murray Inquiry recommendations over the next week and consulting widely with stakeholders,” Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.