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 Corporations (Financial Counselling Agencies) Instrument 2017/792 for financial counselling agencies 2. ASIC Credit (Financial Counselling Agencies) Instrument 2017/793 for NGOs (non-government organisations) providing credit assistance to consumers

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. Financial counsellors also need to demonstrate 20 points of CPD per calendar year to maintain membership compliance. 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. CPD requirements are the same for all financial counsellors, regardless of working hours. There is no pro-rata application.