The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has announced it will be examining the quality of financial advice via ‘shadow shopping’ research in 2011, with a focus on advice provided to people at retirement.

The definition and gradations of ‘quality’ retirement financial advice will be established by ASIC in consultation with an expert reference group that includes both industry and consumer group representation. This group is currently being assembled by ASIC.


ASIC Commissioner Greg Medcraft said, ‘ASIC is focusing on retirement advice because the numbers of people getting ready to retire is growing, particularly baby boomers. Around 20% of the current super pool is in retirement products, such as de-accumulation products, and this is likely to double over the next decade. It’s critical people make good decisions about their retirement and get quality retirement advice to make the most of their retirement savings.’


'Given the current Future of Financial Advice Reforms, our shadow shopping will not be focused on ‘naming and shaming’ financial advisers. The objective of the shadow shopping exercise is to define good quality advice to give industry guidance and help consumers maximise their retirement savings,’ said Mr Medcraft.

In addition, the retirement shadow shopping research aims to:

  • improve ASIC’s understanding of how consumers and investors view and experience the retirement financial advice process;
  • provide general feedback to the financial advice industry, in particular identifying areas where conduct needs to be improved; and identify areas of suspected misconduct for further action;
  • encourage continued professionalisation of retirement advisers.
  • encourage people to seek financial advice when planning for retirement.

The shadow shopping will be conducted in consultation with the expert reference panel. A report on the shadow shopping will be issued when complete.


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