What is a Financial Counsellor?

Financial Counsellors: Information, support and advocacy for people in financial difficulty.

Financial Counsellors offer their services free of charge to their clients and provide impartial advocacy.

Financial Counsellors are employed by both Non-Government and Government agencies, specialising in Low Income Support, Indigenous service and advocacy, Problem Gambling service, Multicultural service, Families, Community Education, Federal and State advocacy, Credit Reform and more. These agencies have ASIC exemption from the requirement to hold a credit licence.

You can read more the facts about the need for financial counselling across Australia by clicking on the link below.

Financial Counselling Infographic V 7 2017

You can read more about Financial Counselling in these case studies below

Financial Counselling Makes A Difference A Collection Of Case Studies Oct 2016

 

What is the ASIC exemption and how does it apply to an agency and to a financial counsellor?

Financial counselling agencies that engage in credit activity as part of a financial counselling service are exempt from the requirement to hold a credit licence.

The exemption is subject to further conditions including that:

  1. Financial counsellors do not give advice to clients about purchasing investment products, such as shares or managed investments; and
  2. No fees or charges (however described) are payable by or on behalf of the client in relation to the financial service or any other aspect of the financial counselling service, other than fees or charges (if any) that are payable on behalf of the client by the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory and;
  3. The financial counselling agency is likewise unable to be remunerated (including by commission) directly or indirectly in relation to any action of the client; and
  4. The financial counselling agency does not operate or participate in a financial services business beyond the scope of this relief, and takes all reasonable steps to ensure that none of its employees do so.
  5. In order to obtain this relief, individual financial counsellors must also be members of, or be eligible to be members of, a recognised National or State Financial Counselling Association. Membership requirements themselves set standards about conflicts of interest and professional conduct.

Membership of SAFCA satisfies point five above, allowing an agency exemption from holding a credit license.

You can read more about Membership here »

 

SAFCA Members are required to practice within the national  Code of Ethical Practice and Code of Practice . You can read these below

Code Of Ethical Practice

 

SAFCA will deal with any complaints against a financial counsellor in accordance wit the Disciplinary Process – Policy and Procedures

Disciplinary Process Policy And Procedures

 

Agencies employing financial counsellors abide by the Agency Practice Standards and checklist

Agency Practice Standards January 2015

Agency Practice Standards Checklist Jan 2015

 

SAFCA does not provide financial counselling or advice.

Find a Free Financial Counsellor in your area »