Demystifying appointing a Financial Adviser or an Authorised Representative

In 2015, the amendments to the Corporations Act brought in the concept of a Financial Adviser. This means having to make additional notifications to ASIC in relation to the new Financial Adviser Register. Licensees have been required to notify ASIC and its predecessors of the appointment of their Authorised Representatives for over 20 years but the new notification requirement is causing some confusion. Many Licensees don’t know when to notify ASIC, which register is involved and the process.

What is a Financial Adviser?

Is an individual authorised to provide personal advice in relation to relevant financial products to retail clients. Financial advisers are recorded on the Financial Adviser Register.

What are the relevant financial products?

“Relevant financial products” are all financial products other than basic banking products, general insurance products or consumer credit insurance, or a combination of any of those products.

What is an Authorised Representative?

Is an individual, body corporate or partnership authorised by an AFS licensee to provide particular financial services or products on their behalf. Authorised representatives are recorded on the Authorised Representative Register.

Who can be an Authorised Representative?

Only a body corporate, natural person, partnership or a group of individuals that act as trustee may be an authorised representative of an AFS licensee.

An authorised representative may sub-authorise individuals to provide financial services on behalf of the licensee, but only where the licensee consents in writing. A body corporate that is an authorised representative will need to sub-authorise its directors and employees in order to provide financial services on behalf of a licensee. There are some exemptions detailed in table below.

Can an Individual be both a Financial Adviser and an Authorised Representative?

An individual (who is not an employee or director of a Licensee) can be both a Financial Adviser and an Authorised Representative where they provide the following additional financial services on behalf of the licensee:

    • arranging to deal in financial products; and / or

    • providing personal advice on basic deposit products or general insurance products.

Many AFS Licensees are not aware of the fact that ASIC must be notified if a person is performing both roles.

Types of appointments:

The table below describes scenarios where a company or an individual may be a financial adviser or authorised representative or both:

Role and Type of ServiceFinancial AdviserAuthorised Representative
Adviser is a director or employee of Licensee providing Financial Planning services on a broad range of financial products to retail clientsYesNo
Body Corporate has been appointed to provide Financial Planning services on a broad range of financial products to retail clients.NoYes – corporate authorised representative
Adviser is a Director or Employee of Body Corporate Representative providing Financial Planning services on a broad range of financial products to retail clients such as securities and interests in managed investment schemes.YesYes
Adviser is a Director or Employee of Body Corporate Representative but only provides:
• personal advice on basic deposit products and related non-cash payment facilities; and/or
• general advice on and dealing in general insurance products, cash management trust interests or basic deposit products and related non-cash payment facilities.
NoNo
Individual adviser appointed to provide Financial Planning services on a broad range of financial products to retail clients. This includes providing dealing services to clients and advice on other financial products not captured in Financial Adviser Register (ie general insurance and also basic deposit products).YesYes (due to dealing, personal advice on basic deposit products or general insurance)
Adviser is a director or employee of Licensee providing Personal Advice to wholesale clients on a range of financial products such as securities and MISNoNo
Individual is appointed to provide Personal Advice to wholesale clients on a range of financial products such as securities and MISNoYes
Body Corporate appointed to provide Personal advice to wholesale clients on a range of financial products such as securities and MISNoYes
Adviser is a director or employee of Licensee providing general advice on a range of products such as securities and MIS to retail clientsNoNo
Body Corporate appointed to provide Personal Advice to retail clients on General Insurance productsNoYes
Adviser is a director or employee of Licensee providing personal advice on Basic Deposit Products and General Insurance to retail clientsNoNo
Adviser is an individual appointed to provide Personal Advice on General Insurance and Basic Deposit Products to retail clients.NoYes
Adviser is a director or employee of a Licensee providing Personal Advice on interests in managed investment schemes issued by the Licensee to retail clientsYes (can be restricted to that product on register)No

How to notify ASIC?

To advise ASIC of Appointment, Cessation and maintenance of Financial Advisers and Authorised Representatives you must have a user ID and Password for ASIC Connect.

    Online Process – Financial Adviser

    When appointing an Individual as a Financial Adviser you need the following information to complete the ASIC notification:
    • Full name and date and place of birth (City/State/Country);
    • Representative Number (optional but useful to display a full history of a representative);
    • ABN (Optional);
    • Date of Appointment;
    • Select radio button – financial adviser;
    • Authorisations (select those that apply to the Individual);
    • Further Restrictions (optional if individual has restrictions in relation to a financial product);
    • Employment History (for last five years):

      o Licence number;
      o Rep Number;
      o Start date and end date;
    • Qualifications:
      o Name of Course;
      o Provider / Institution;
      o Year attained; and
    • Professional Memberships
      o Professional Body name (five max)
    Online Process – Authorised Representative (Individual or Body Corporate)

    • Advise where appointing a representative of a body corporate representative;
    • Select authorised representative radio button;
    • Full name and date and place of birth (City/State/Country);
    • Representative Number (optional but useful to display a full history of a representative);
    • ABN (Optional);
    • Individual or Body Corporate;
    • Whether representative acts for another licensee – provide details of that licensee and whether consent has been received from existing licensee;
    • Date of Appointment;
    • Principal Place of Business of rep;
    • Email address of rep;
    • Business name of rep if they intend to trade under that name;
    • Whether the representative is able to appoint further reps;
    • Whether the representative has same authorisations as licensee;

    Online Process – Financial Adviser & Authorised Representative

    Information required is a combination of both process above. However you need to select both radio buttons to be both a Financial Adviser and an Authorised Representative.

Where to search for Financial Advisers or Authorised Representatives?

1. Financial Adviser Register is available on Moneysmart website;
2. Authorised Representatives can be searched through professional registers on the ASIC website;
3. All authorized representatives and financial advisers of a particular licensee can be viewed through an AFS Licensee search via through professional registers on the ASIC website.