The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) admitted in a Senate Estimates committee last week that it had not examined the details of ANZ Financial Planning’s fee-for-service model before issuing a press release praising the move.

According to Nick Sherry, Labor Senator for Tasmania and shadow minister for financial services, ASIC deputy commissioner, Jeremy Cooper, told the Estimates hearing last Thursday that the regulator has not fully investigated the ANZ fee-for-service claim. However, ASIC took the unusual step on February 3 this year of publicly congratulating ANZ for its fee-for-service approach. “We are pleased to see another major industry player moving to this model, following earlier moves by other participants (including Axa, Financial Wisdom, MLC and RetireInvest) last year,” Cooper said at the time. “I also asked ASIC to define what is a commission and whether there is a difference between an ongoing fee based on a percentage of assets and a commission,” Sherry said. “ASIC said it hasn’t looked at the issue but admitted perhaps it should.” According to ANZ, its so-called ‘Prime Access’ fee model offers clients the choice of paying a fee based on the level of service provided and funds under management. As well, the bank’s financial planners are still able to charge using commissions embedded in investment products if the client agrees. “Fees, including any commissions, are agreed between the planner and customer and fully disclosed in the resulting Statement of Advice as an annual dollar amount,” ANZ said in a statement earlier this year.

Join the discussion