Super stitch up a half-baked solution to advice challenges

Tuesday, 13 June 2023

Today’s response to the Quality of Advice Review by the Albanese Government is a half-baked attempt at a solution which fails to address major challenges to improving access to financial advice for Australians.

While overdue, the government’s ‘stream one’ reforms are welcome but the narrow acceptance of the medium-term agenda will leave Australians with less access to financial advice and advisers working outside the superannuation system in the cold.

The response to the Levy Review was a key opportunity to drive better retirement outcomes and productivity in the economy but the government has shied away from making any genuine improvements.

Narrowly implementing the Levy Review risks undermining innovative investment and product design within the financial advice sector and creates an unequal playing field between superannuation funds and the remainder of the financial services sector.

This is all the more galling due to Assistant Treasurer’s decision to announce the changes in a closed-door meeting of superannuation fund executives.

The Coalition calls on the Albanese Government to adopt in principle all the recommendations of the Levy Review, and to work constructively with the Coalition on the implementation.

This is a vital deregulation measure that will deliver wins for consumers, support innovation and investment in the financial services sector.

Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor said picking winners was not a pathway to productivity.

“The government was handed a considered and timely review by Ms Michelle Levy that would have provided safer, simpler, and cheaper financial advice to all Australians. This would have had positive benefits to the economy as well as to consumers,” Mr Taylor said.

“Instead, the government has delayed, second guessed the reviewer, and after failing to deliver a response in the Budget, delivered a two-page response to what should be a seminal productivity roadmap for our financial advice sector.

“This is both disappointing and unsurprising after the government buried the Productivity Commission’s 5 Year Review with neither the Treasurer, the Prime Minister, or the Prime Minister’s department having sought a briefing on the Review from the Productivity Commission Chair.

“Whether it’s the cost of living crisis, inflation or productivity – Labor is asleep at the wheel.”