For a number of years, my professional life has revolved around the Australian financial services laws. This body of law is constantly changing. 

There is constant commentary about these changes and the regulatory guidance that surrounds these laws. Whatever the change – whether this commentary relates to the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) (do the recent changes constitute a “gutting” or the reforms or mere tweaking?), enhanced due diligence requirements relating to Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (what are “beneficial owners” or “politically exposed persons”?; what is the status of the no-action position that applies to persons to whom these changes apply?), or even ASIC’s new report reviewing retail life insurance advice – I’ve come to appreciate one thing. 

Instead of focusing on the commentary surrounding the regulations or guidance, the best way to get a grasp of the situation is to go directly to the source. Read the legislative instruments introducing the changes in law. Read the ASIC report directly. Come to your own opinions. Consider the commentary to see whether it enhances or gives a different perspective to your views, or even gives breadcrumbs for other sources to consider. But ultimately, go to source.

In the context of this blog, I’ll freely admit that at times I’ll refer to, or base my opinions, on other material. For example, I might write a post on my thoughts about ASIC’s Report 413 Review of retail life insurance advice (which, based on a skim, I already have strong opinions about). Whether I make the point explicitly or not, a guiding principle that I take, and that I recommend for anyone wanting to think deeply about something, is to go directly to the source. 

Even if the point of my blog is to capture some of the more interesting or useful points set out in another document, the subtext should always be: go to the source. 

Sonnie Bailey

Sonnie is an Authorised Financial Adviser (AFA) and former lawyer with experience in the financial services and trustee industries. Sonnie operates Fairhaven Wealth (

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