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Advice standards board membership unveiled

The membership of the federal government's new Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority has been revealed.

Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority, or FASEA, will be responsible for governing the conduct of professionals in the financial advice sector.

Catherine Walter, the director of the RBA's Payments Systems Board and a director at Australian Foundation Investment Company, has been appointed chair of the board for a four-year period.

Other directors include:

• Deborah Kent, former AFA president

• Carolyn Bond, director of the Legal Services Board (Victoria), Debt Repayment Service Board and Jan Pentland Foundation

• Mark Brimble, professor (finance) in the Griffith Business School at the Griffith University

• Matthew Rowe, CEO and managing director of Countplus Limited

• Catriona Lowe, director of the Financial Ombudsman Service, Legal Practice Liability Committee (Vic) and Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and a co-chair of the ACCC Consumer Consultative Committee

• Simon Longstaff, executive director of the Ethics Centre

• Steve Somogyi, director at Guild Group and UniSuper, and an adviser at Monash University, Victoria University and University of Melbourne

• Michael O’Neill, former CEO of National Seniors Australia and a former CEO of the Australian Gold Council and AgForce Queensland.

The role of the chair is to maintain board cohesion and unite directors with different experiences and backgrounds to achieve the common purpose of professionalising the financial advice sector, the statement said.

The FASEA will be responsible for governing the conduct of professionals in the financial advice sector, by setting mandatory educational and training requirements, developing and setting an industry exam, and creating a Code of Ethics that all advisers will be required to adhere to.

The new requirements will commence on 1 January 2019. From this date, new advisers will be required to hold a relevant degree before they are eligible to commence a supervision year and to sit the exam. Existing advisers will have two years, until 1 January 2021, to pass the exam and five years, until 1 January 2024, to reach a standard equivalent to a degree. The Code of Ethics will commence on 1 January 2020, with all advisers being required to adhere to the code from that day forward.

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