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Australia has put in place a new regulatory system for providing advice that modifies existing obligations and introduces new requirements. The three planks of the new regime are as follows: (1) a statutory obligation that advisers act in the best interests of the client and, in the case of any conflict, give priority to the interests of the client; (2) a ban on conflicted remuneration; and (3) new arrangements for ongoing fees that require the client to opt-in. This new regime is found in consumer protection legislation which does not generally apply directly to commercial relationships and wholesale clients. It is changing financial planners’ conduct of business and particularly their remuneration models. Whether it will lead to readily available, properly priced, better advice from trusted financial planners can only be assessed in the future. The changes to the remuneration and fee rules are more likely to drive change and have a bigger impact than the reworked appropriate advice rules.



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