Future of Financial Advice Series: best interests duty

By Jacques Jacobs, Sophie Devitt, Aaron McDonald and Matthew Ho

This update sets out the Future of Financial Advice’s best interests duty: a duty requiring financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients, placing clients’ interests ahead of their own, subject to a ‘reasonable steps’ qualification.

The best interests duty requires financial advisers to place the interests of their clients ahead of their own in providing personal advice to retail clients. It is designed to build trust and confidence in the financial advice industry through an enhanced standard that aligns the interests of the adviser with his or her client, thereby reducing conflicts of interest.  

The term ‘best interests’ is not defined in the new legislation. However, an adviser will comply with the best interests duty if he or she complies with the ‘safe harbour’ provisions set out in the act…

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