New FSR laws branded a ‘fiasco’

Hundreds of businesses are facing fines for not having new licences under the Financial Services Reform Act coming into effect today. While ASIC has processed about 4,000 new licences, the regulator said some companies had left it until too late to submit their applications. ASIC will begin compliance checks shortly. The businesses without licences will have to shut up shop or risk a $22,000 fine and a two-year jail term. ASIC said the non-complying organisations are spread across all sectors dealing with supplying financial advice to investors including financial planners, stockbrokers, insurance and mortgage brokers, and some accountants and law firms. Criticism of the new regimen is continuing over the amount of paperwork the new rules require. The federal Opposition said the FSR's aim to protect consumers has been counter-productive because there's now too much information.