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Arnold Bloch Leibler

Lawyers and Advisers

Level 21 333 Collins Street l\ilelbourne Victoria 3000 Australia DX38455 Melbourne
www. abl.com,au

1'1 February

2014

Telephone

6't 3 9229 9999


Facsimile 61 3 9229 9900

By E-mail Confidential & privileged communication

Your Ref Our Ref MDL ZM File No. 011797907 Gontact


Matthew Lees Direct 61 3 9229 9684 Facsimile 61 3 99'16 9311 mlees@abl.com.au

Ms Robbie CamPo Deputy Chief Executive lndustry Super Network Level 39, Casselden Place 2 Lonsdale Street Melbourne VIC 3000

r953-2o13
Partner Zaven Mardirossian
Direct 61 3 9229 9635 zmardirossian@abl.com.au
METBOURlIIE SYDl'IEY

Dear Ms Campo

Proposed lntroduction of FoFA Amendments by Regulation

Partners
[4ark M Lelbler AC Henry D Lanzor

This letter sets out our advice on the Commonwealth Government's ability to make regulations that would implement its proposed amendments to the Future of Financial Advice ("FoFA',) legislatiol in Part 7.7A of lhe corporations Act 2001 (cth).
For the reasons summarised below, we consider that such regulations would be invalid and susceptible to challenge in the courts. A court declaration of invalidity would operate retrospectively. This means, for example, financial adviser who relied on the reguations :ould be found to have acted unlawfully. The regulations would therefre create significant uncertainty, and could well becom the subject of protracted litigation between financial advisers and their for example, in an investor class action. clients

Josph

Bolensztajn

Loon Zwef Phlip choslor

Ro$ APalorson
SLephen L Sharp Konnolh A Gray Kevin F Frawley

[ichael N Dodge
Jno C Shoridan Loonie R

Thompsn

Zavn l\ardirosian Jonalhan M Wonig Pul sokolowski Paul Rubonslein

Poler M Sidel
Alox King John liitcholl Ben l\ahoney Sam Dollard Lily Tell Androw Silberborg Lisa Morrywlhor Jonathn Mlner John [lengolian Caroline Goulden [.4atlhew Les Genviove Soxton Joremy Leiblor Rick Nar6v Nalhan Brinor Jonalhan Capln Juslin Vaalslra Clnl Harding Jmos

The Government has released for consultation a draft Bill and draft Regulations for the FOFA amendments. The draft Explanatory Memorandum for the Bill States: "The Government's approach is that time sensitive FOFA amendments wilt be dealt with through regulations,

and then regut@, @underlinedWordStobeanacknoWledgmentthatthe be invalid'


Government's proposed use of regulations might

Slmpsn

Senior Ltigatjon Counsel


Robrl J Hoathcote

Seniof Associates
Suo Keo l\olanio Alderton Jorja Cleeland Bsnjmin l\arshll

Despite being foreshadowed in the Explanatory Memorandum, the draft Regulations d not include provisions implementing these amendments' The absence of these provisions is not explained. This Suggests that the
Government is uncertain about how such provisions would be drafted' According to the draft Explanatory Memorandum, the FOFA amendments to be " im ple me nted vi a reg ul ation" include: . repealng th requirement that, in order to qualify for the safe harbour to the best interest obligation, an adviser must take any other step that is reasonably regarded s in the client's bests interests ("catch-all");

Tr6s W4d
Christine Flor Nncy collins Susann Ford Kimborloy l\KaY

Androa-[own
Daniel ,4olo David

Sposr

Kate Logan Laila Do Molo Elizablh Steer Anetla Curkowicz Damion CuddihY David Robbins Krysll Pellow

Geolroy KozminskY Jgremy Lanzef


Noil Brydges Tyrono cca.thY Erin Hawlhorne Gia Cari

Con6ultants
Allan Fols AO

ABL/3338226v1

Ms Robbie CamPo lndustry Super Network

Arnold Bloch Leibler

Page: Date:

11 February 2014

. o . .

amending the best interests obligation to state that that obligation does not prevnt an adviser and a clint from agreeing the subject matter of the advice ("scaled advice"); repealing the rule that an ongoing fee arrangement terminaies ("opt-in automat-ically unless the client renews it every two years requrement"); repealing the requirement for advisers to provide a fee disclosure 1 statement to clients who entered into ongoing fee arrangements before July 2013 ("pre-1 July 2013 clients"); and amending the definition of "conflicted remuneration" to exclude benefits given to n adviser that could reasonably be expected to influence the adviser when giving general advice (as opposed to personal advice)'

These amendments represent policy choices by the Government and significant of the sorts of matters that are sPeaking, such changes to regulations are usually onlY a s of the day{o-day operaton of an Act'

The Government may only make regulations if it is empowered to do so by "rele.vant legislation. The expfunatry Memorandum does not identify lhe ln s 1364 reutation-making pwel' tfrt tne Government proposes to rely upon power is that but regulations power make to of-the Act, the G-overnment has a Act or "permitted' by the ot "required' limited to regulations that are either (a) Acf'' this to giving effect (b) "necess ary or convenient ... for carrying out or

The ,'necessaly or convenient' power does not, in our view, support--the

proposed ,r"ndr"nts. This is because, far from "carrying out or giv.ing.-effect' io tfre Act (as it currently stands), the proposed amendments vary significantly in its from and are indeed incnsistent with the Act, As the High Coud explained Ltd Zealand New of unanimous decision in Morton v lJnion Steamship Co (1951) 83 CLR 402,410"
" Regulations may adopted for the more effective administration of the proii"ions actuaity contained in the Act, but not regulations which vary or 'deparf from tie positive provisions made by the Act or regulations which

be

go outside
step

the fitd of operation which the Act marks out for itself."

ln that case, the regulations were struck down because they represented

"?!ew

in policy'

(it

+tZ). That description is

apt for the proposed FOFA

amendments.

The proposed amendments are clearly nol "require.d' by the Act, .so the only porri5t"'remaining basis is if the amedments are "permitted' by the Act' Part LIAU the Act des contain subsections that permit the making of regulations
but these powers are again limited:

to Regulations may alter the steps financial advisers must take in order can regulations but duty, qrlty for the sfe harbour to the best interests only do so in "pres cribed circumstances" (s 9618(5))'

Ms Robbie Campo lndustry Super Network

Arnold Bloch Leibler

Page: Date:

11 February 2014

o o .

"m a Regulations may provide that the opt-in requirement does not apply particular situation" (s 962K(3))'

Regulations may provide that the requirement to give fee disclosu.re statements to pre-t July 2013 clients does not apply "in a particular situation" (s 9625(2))'

A benefit is not conflicted remuneration if it "/s a prescribed benefit or is giveninprescribedcircumstances''(ss9638(1)(e)and963C(0)'

These subsections clearly do not permit the Government, by regulation, to implement some of its proposed FoFA amendments, such as to:

. .

state that the best interests obligation does not prevent an adviser and a

clientfromagreeingthesubjectmatteroftheadvice;or

repeal s 961E, which explains the meaning of the catch-all step'

could It could be suggested that, under the subsections listed above, regulations the and make the "fresCribed Circumstan1es" tO be "all Cir7umsfanes", "pafticular situation" to be "all situations", and that this Would have the same to etect as repealing the catch-all, the opt-in requirement and the requirement pre-1 give fee disclosure statements to that would be an artificial and flawed making powers. "All situations" are not' ordinary language and applies to the o statements. ln relation to the catch interpreted broadly (eg, Lane v Soutar t19541 Tas SR 35) but encompassing"all circmstan"""" *orld- make the words "prescrbed circumstances" redundant' Further, the fact that the Act "deals specificatty and n detail with the subiect powers matter to which [it] is addressed' indicates that the regulation-making fact The 410)' at Ltd are limited (Mortn v L1nion Steamship Co of New Zealand section that the meaning of the catch-all step is enshrined in a separate (s 961E) also tells against the repeal of that step by regulation.

ln our view, the proposed amendment regarding conflicted remuneration is in a in different category. Th"t r."ndment doeJ not relate not to a// circumstances the involving which a beneJit is given, but rather is confined to circumstances giving of general adlice. lt might therefore be possible to make regulations that ave-the ame effect as this proposed amendment'
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries.

Ms Robbie CamPo lndustry Super Network

Arnold Bloch Leibler

Page: Date:

11 Febtuary 2014

Yours sincerely

Zaven Mardirossian Partner

Matthew Lees
Partner