Australia: ASIC podcast on conflicts of interest in vertically integrated institutions

ASIC offers a podcast on the conflicts of interest in vertically integrated institutions. This podcast is an effective introduction to ASIC's recent report on the same issue.

The essence of the review is the proportion of the institution's share of the approved product list, compared to the proportion of client assets invested in the institutions' products. That in itself, isn't a problem, and ASIC knows that - so it reviewed the quality of the advice as well to contrast with the funds allocation. They found that in 10% of the advice reviewed, in ASIC's assessment was that the client would be seriously financially disadvantaged. For a further 65% of the advice the advice failed to meet the requirements of the law, breaking down into further categories of issues (listen and read if you want the detail).

The conclusion was the failure of the advice to demonstrate how it would leave the client better off - an interesting and functional standard, much more like our principles-based approach. Also, a good general guide. If you cannot include in the statement of advice a sentence like: "This will improve your financial situation by..." then maybe better look hard at the advice again.