ASIC urges AFS licensees to register their financial advisers and provides a short extension to facilitate compliance

ASIC’s records show that as at 9am on 18 January 2024, 4,036 (26%) financial advisers who provide personal advice to retail clients on relevant products (relevant providers) are still not registered with ASIC. Given that the period for registration has coincided with the summer holiday period, ASIC is providing AFS licensees an additional two weeks to register their relevant providers.

ASIC has made an instrument which, on commencement, will extend the registration period until 16 February 2024.

From 16 February 2024, all relevant providers, including time-share advisers, must be registered. This does not include provisional relevant providers. A relevant provider giving personal advice while unregistered will be in breach of a restricted civil penalty provision and the relevant provider’s authorising AFS licensee(s) will have committed an offence of strict liability and contravened a civil penalty provision.

ASIC will not provide any further extensions after this time. ASIC will focus on ensuring compliance with the registration regime and taking regulatory action where required.

ASIC Commissioner Alan Kirkland has stressed the importance of meeting this obligation ahead of the new deadline, warning a failure to comply could incur significant consequences for unregistered financial advisers who continue to provide personal advice and their authorising AFS licensee.

“The provision of personal advice by unregistered advisers is prohibited and carries significant penalties,” Mr Kirkland said.

“ASIC has provided a short extension in recognition of the fact that the initial period for registration has coincided with the summer holiday period.

“We acknowledge those AFS licensees who, since late November, have registered their advisers ahead of the requirement commencing. We urge AFS licensees that have not registered their advisers to do so as soon as possible.

“After the revised deadline has passed, ASIC will begin a program to check compliance with this requirement and will take enforcement action where we identify advisers who have provided advice while unregistered,” he said.

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