ASIC extends deadline for financial advisers' registration

Records show that 26% of financial advisers are still unregistered

ASIC extends deadline for financial advisers' registration

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has granted a two-week extension for registering financial advisers.

ASIC urged Australian Financial Services (AFS) licensees to expedite the registration of their financial advisers. The move comes as ASIC records indicate a significant number of relevant providers are yet to complete their registration despite the initial due date of 1 February.

The extension pushes the registration deadline to 16 February, providing AFS licensees additional time to ensure their relevant providers are duly registered via ASIC Connect. After this final date, advisers providing personal advice to retail clients without registration and their authorising AFS licensees will violate the law and may face regulatory action.

ASIC's records as of 18 January revealed that 26% of financial advisers, totalling 4,036 individuals, were still unregistered. ASIC Commissioner Alan Kirkland emphasised the gravity of adhering to the revised deadline, cautioning that failure to comply could have severe consequences for unregistered financial advisers and their authorizing AFS licensees.

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

The extension is implemented through an instrument created by ASIC, extending the registration period until 16 February. From that date onward, all relevant providers, including time-share advisers, must be registered, excluding provisional relevant providers. Advisers providing personal advice without registration will breach a restricted civil penalty provision. At the same time, the authorising AFS licensees will commit an offence of strict liability and contravene a civil penalty provision.

ASIC has underscored that no further extensions will be provided after the revised deadline. The regulatory focus will shift towards ensuring compliance with the registration regime, with ASIC ready to take enforcement action against advisers who have provided advice while unregistered.

AFS licensees are encouraged to apply promptly via ASIC Connect to streamline the registration process.

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