In all the hullabaloo about the Federal Leader of the Opposition's political nosedive, there has been little mention of the fact that last week the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services began public hearings in its Inquiry into Financial Products and Services in Australia.
The basic terms of reference are:
1. the role of financial advisers;
2. the general regulatory environment for these products and services;
3. the role played by commission arrangements relating to product sales and advice, including the potential for conflicts of interest, the need for appropriate disclosure, and remuneration models for financial advisers;
4. the role played by marketing and advertising campaigns;
5. the adequacy of licensing arrangements for those who sold the products and services;
6. the appropriateness of information and advice provided to consumers considering investing in those products and services, and how the interests of consumers can best be served;
7. consumer education and understanding of these financial products and services;
8. the adequacy of professional indemnity insurance arrangements for those who sold the products and services, and the impact on consumers; and9. the need for any legislative or regulatory change.
Hopefully those who lost their life savings when Storm Financial spectacularly failed will receive some answers as to why financial advisers are apparently so under-regulated that they can act like irresponsible cowboys.
As yet the transcript of the 24th June 2009 has not been posted. Perhaps because that first hearing day appears to have been taken up with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission explaining itself and its track record.
There have been over 110 submissions to this inquiry so far. Mostly from ordinary individuals, some with sad tales to relate.
The next hearings will be held: