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Commission calls on QFEs to set high standards

Prospective qualifying financial entities (QFEs) have until the end of July next year to lodge applications with the Securities Commission, according to a long-awaited regulatory paper published yesterday.

Thursday, December 24th 2009, 5:41AM

by David Chaplin

According to the QFE Adviser Business Statement [ABS] Guide, released just two days shy of Christmas, businesses wishing to join the regime will have to lodge comprehensive documents with the Commission detailing the structure and operations of their organisations.

An ABS produced by a QFE must include information such as the split of its product sales by channel and full details of adviser remuneration methods. However, QFEs will not be obliged to make their ABS document publicly available.

The ABS itself must be structured in two parts: part one, outlining the QFE's advisory business, and; part two, describing governance and compliance systems.

The Commission says businesses comprised largely of authorised financial advisers (AFAs) wouldn't gain much advantage by acting as a QFE.

"On the other hand, QFE status may substantially benefit businesses engaging many advisers who do not have to be individually authorised," it says. "The business and these advisers can take advantage of streamlined registration, disclosure, disputes resolution arrangements and regulatory supervision."

The QFE rules also give organisations some latitude to deviate from the Code of Professional Conduct for AFAs, currently under construction. However, the Commission says it will adopt an ‘if not, why not' approach to QFEs that stray from the AFA Code.

The Commission says its policing role with QFEs would depend on how "willingly" individual businesses, and the industry as a whole, embraced "professional standards".

"If QFEs self-impose rigorous standards, we will be able to scale back the intrusiveness of regulatory supervision," the Commission document says.

Another ABS guide for non-QFE AFAs is due out early in 2010.

« AXA advisers prefer NABSovereign takes regulation bull by the horns »

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