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FSR (Financial Services Reform) - Democrats push for even greater disclosure and accountability.

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Senator Andrew Murray

Australian Democrats

Taxation, Finance & Corporate Affairs Spokesperson

5 Dec, 2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/886


The Australian Democrats welcomed the passage of the Financial Services Reform Amendment Bill 2003 today. This Bill adds to the brave new disclosure regime for financial products and services.

The Democrats and Labor ensured that the Government strengthened the disclosure of fees and charges in financial products. They should be expressed in dollar terms in preference to percentage terms. The latter will only be used when ASIC determines a dollar fee disclosure is not possible for compelling reasons.

In debating the Financial Services Reform Amendment Bill 2003, Democrats’ Corporate Affairs spokesperson Senator Andrew Murray said that consumers have an absolute right to know the fees and expenses they are being charged in dollar terms.

“Anything less makes comparability almost impossible,” said Senator Murray.

“We are pleased to pass the Bill now to provide advance industry certainty in the transition to the 11 March 2004 start date. Amendments have been limited. However, the principle of 'dollar based' disclosure is now enshrined in legislation.

“The Democrats have also reached a sensible outcome with the Government to treat certain term deposits as 'basic deposit products' for the purposes of the bill.

“Our amendment ensures that for term deposits over two years, customers have a legal right to redeem their funds at any time without the imposition of exit fees.

“The Democrats are committed to the significant reforms with the FSR regime but we strongly urge the government to stay tough on the issue of greater disclosure of financial services providers,” concluded Senator Murray.

For comment please contact: Senator Murray on 0419 958 038