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Thanks for your question.
The test for whether you provide financial product advice is not whether you receive commissions – many people and organisations who provide financial product advice receive no commissions of any kind. Under the law, if you make a recommendation or statement of opinion that is intended to influence a person (or a group of people) in making a decision in relation to a particular financial product (or a particular class of financial products) then you are providing financial product advice. ASIC’s Regulatory Guide 36 includes a good discussion of what conduct constitutes financial product advice.
However, as with most areas of law, the answer is not that simple. There are a range of exemptions that may apply to your proposed blog, depending on how you are structured and what you propose to discuss. Also, some discussions may not meet the definition of financial product advice, so licensing may not be an issue.
There are laws in Australia prohibiting the receipt of a secret commission, as well as prohibiting misleading or deceptive conduct or statements, so you should disclose your payment arrangements clearly.
More information is required to give you a definitive answer, so we would recommend you seek legal advice before proceeding. Please contact our office and speak to someone in our financial services team.
Author: Paul Derham
Co-contributor: Megan Jaksa