COTA Australia, the peak body for older Australians, has welcomed many of the recommendations of the Financial Systems Inquiry released today as a positive step towards a system that will deliver better outcomes for older Australians and all consumers.
Chief Executive Ian Yates highlighted the focus on improving the superannuation and retirement income system, and said recommendations for better regulation of financial products and advice were particularly beneficial.
“COTA urges the Federal Government to adopt the recommendations of the Financial Systems Inquiry and take strong action for a more equitable and sustainable financial system in which consumers can have full confidence,” Mr Yates said.
“We accept there may be scope to streamline the regulation of the financial system, but never at the expense of the best interests of consumers, including vulnerable groups such as older Australians and the less financially literate.
“The commitment to build a broad consensus around the objectives of Australia’s superannuation and retirement income system offers a once-in-a-generation chance to deal with the challenges of providing support for older Australians as the population ages.
“However, it will fail to deliver on this vital promise if the adequacy and fairness of the retirement income system is not included in the scope of reform. The Inquiry recognises this was largely outside its terms of reference but does call for fairer taxation of superannuation contributions to be addressed.
Australia urgently needs the comprehensive, independent review into retirement incomes COTA has been calling for, to inform sustainable future policy settings for decades to come.
“The Inquiry calls for further separation of incentives for financial advisors to recommend certain financial products from their ability to give transparent advice in the best interests of the client.
“The development of a more professional financial advice industry and training is part of the solution; strong regulation that protects consumers’ interest is another essential element.
“We support the call for ASIC to have the power of intervention in products that by their very design cannot be in the best interest of consumers.
“COTA looks forward to working with the Federal Government and other industry stakeholders in the robust discussions needed to implement these recommendations and improve the financial advice, superannuation and retirement income system in Australia so that it is unequivocally focused on the interests of consumers,” he said.
Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Jane Garcia 0434 489 533.
COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.