David Stuart

No royal commission into CBA financial planners

THE Abbott government will largely leave the investigation of the Commonwealth Bank's financial planners to its own independent review.

But, as it moves to open more loopholes in the financial advice sector, the government has announced a new public register of advisors.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann on Friday formally confirmed a royal commission, as demanded by a Senate inquiry into the bank and the corporate regulator, would not go ahead.

Coalition committee members had called for the royal commission to be set up to further investigate issues, as such an investigation would have more powers than the Senate.

However, in the government's official response to the committee, it said there "have already been several comprehensive inquiries".

Many of the other recommendations related to the poor performance of the Australian Securities and Investments Commissions.

Senator Cormann said the regulator responded "positively" to the recommendations, including creating a new Office of the Whistleblower to help it deal with corporate insiders.

He said other recommendations on financial regulations, funding and ASIC's role would be considered through the government's financial system inquiry.

Sen Cormann also backed the CBA's own independent review of the problems in its financial planning units, which saw many investors lose thousands of dollars.

He also announced a new public register, which would list all financial advisors in Australia, with details of their experience and qualifications.

That comes despite the government moving ahead with planned changes to re-open loopholes on commissions in the sector, attracting the ire of the industry superannuation sector.

ISA chief executive David Whiteley said on Friday the register must include information on how the advisor was paid, including sales bonuses and other incentives.

"It is extraordinary at a time when public trust in the financial advice industry is in tatters, that a Government Bill currently before the Senate will permanently weaken financial advice laws if passed," he said.

Mr Whiteley said there were already "nine new loopholes" made through regulation changes to allow banks and "product providers" to attach incentives to products.

- APN NEWSDESK



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