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Adviser regulation no done deal

The prospect of adviser regulation has ruffled a few feathers in the advisory community.

Wednesday, May 16th 2001, 10:18PM

by Philip Macalister

Regulation of financial advisers is far from a done deal although two senior government MPs support the idea.

As reported earlier Social Welfare minister Steve Maharey and government whip Rick Barker are supporting the call for regulation of the advisory industry.

Just over a year ago Barker offered to sponsor a Private Members Bill in Parliament on the issue. More recently Maharey offered his support for a bill, after receiving a personal approach from Financial Planners and Insurance Advisers Association (FPIA) president Paul O'Brien.

However, a spokesman for Maharey has played down the minister's role in this issue, saying that adviser regulation is not a big issue.

He says that Maharey is "personally supportive" of the initiative and happy to get behind it, however "he is not going to be pursuing the bill himself."

The spokesman says adviser regulation is not on the Government's agenda, rather any bill would have to be introduced to parliament through a Private Member's Bill.

"Yes he thinks it's a good idea," the spokesman says but "this is not a burning issue."

He says Maharey will not be sponsoring a Private Member's Bill.

Meanwhile the regulation initiative has ruffled a few feathers around the industry, not least of all with the Investment Savings and Insurance Association (ISI).

ISI chief executive Vance Arkinstall says he is a little bit concerned that the FPIA appears to have gone off on this issue without consulting itself and the Securities Commission.

The ISI, he says, is supportive of self-regulation however a comprehensive policy needs to be developed.

"The concern is that we don't want to have a half-baked situation develop, even if it's done with the best of intentions."

AIA managing director David Whyte, who headed up an ISI taskforce on adviser regulation last year says the proposal, as it is reported, has no show of succeeding.

Whyte says O'Brien is headed in the right direction by trying to stimulate some debate on the issue. However, he says the proposal, that all advisers would have to belong to a professional association isn't a goer.

"I don't think exclusive membership of an association is the way forward," he says.

The FPIA board will discuss the issue on Friday.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? See what others are saying about adviser regulation in our Online Forum.

POLL: Should all advisers be forced to join a professional association? CAST YOUR VOTE HERE

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