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ASIC Exemption ASIC Exemption

ASIC Exemption

ASIC Exemption

Financial counselling agencies that engage in credit or financial services activity as part of a financial counselling service are exempt from the requirement to hold a credit or financial services licence.

Exemption Conditions

The exemption is subject to further conditions including that:

  • Financial counsellors do not give advice to clients about purchasing investment products, such as shares or managed investments; and
  • No fees or charges are paid by clients for any aspect of the financial counselling service; and
  • The financial counselling agency is likewise unable to be remunerated (including by commission) directly or indirectly in relation to any action of the client; and
  • The financial counselling agency does not operate or participate in a financial services business beyond the scope of this relief, and takes all reasonable steps to ensure that none of its employees do so
  • In order to obtain this relief, individual financial counsellors must also be members of, or be eligible to be members of, a recognised National or State Financial Counselling Association. Membership requirements themselves set standards about conflicts of interest and professional requirements and conduct.
  • Financial counsellors must be appropriately educated

Membership of FCRC satisfies point five above, allowing your agency exemption from holding a credit or financial services licence.

FCA factsheet

This exemption is outlined in:

1. ASIC Class order 03/1063 for general financial counsellors 2. ASIC Class order 11/926 for Rural financial counsellors

National Standards for Membership & Accreditation

The national standards for membership and accreditation of financial counsellors in Australia, as agreed by the eight state and territory financial counselling associations, including FCRC.

Download the National Standards for Membership & Accreditation

Under the national standards, there's a requirement for full and associate members to undertake a minimum of one of each of technical, skills and ethics based sessions per year. While membership requirements for the 2016-17 membership year remain at 10 points per annum, financial counsellors in Victoria will need to demonstrate 20 points of CPD to maintain compliance for the membership year starting in January 2018. CPD points can be claimed for a variety of learning activities, including e-learning, face to face sessions, preparation of education sessions, research and so on. Allocation of points is explained in the National Standards for Membership and Accreditation. The CPD program provides various ways of meeting professional requirements, all of which are articulated in the FCRC calendar. A key part of the CPD program is the Specified Professional Development Program (SPDP) which is funded by Consumer Affairs Victoria. CPD requirements are the same for all financial counsellors, regardless of working hours. There is no pro-rata application. You can view and download the FCRC CPD policy.