Financial advisers lose soft-dollar perks

Financial advisers will be barred from accepting cash payments or gifts worth over $300, trips to conferences and other perks from August 1 when members of the Financial Planning Association and the Investment and Financial Services Association are bound by a new code of practice. The code will discourage advisers from accepting perks in return for promoting fund managers' products. But it doesn't address issues such as the disclosure of other rebates, commissions and conflicts of interest. Consumer groups criticised the new measures as not going far enough and not tackling conflicts of interest. IFSA said members not observing the code would be expelled. CEO Richard Gilbert said negative publicity is a greater deterrent than a fine. IFSA and FPA will detail their position on areas not covered by the new code in the next few months.

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