Home › Forums › Australian Financial Services Licensing (AFSL) Forum › I deal with retail clients. Do I need to keep a hard copy of client files?
January 31, 2011 at 12:01 am #2212
No. However, the conditions of your Australian Financial Services licence require that you keep client files in some form. The latest ASIC pro forma (PF 209) states that copies of FSGs, SOAs and material relating to personal advice must be kept in material, electronic or other form. The time line for keeping such records is normally seven years. So, if you were to solely keep electronic copies, you would need to ensure your IT systems are secure over the long term.
Author: Paul DerhamApril 28, 2011 at 10:22 pm #3041
It’s worth adding that most dealer groups include in any sale of business (or sale of client files) a condition that they have access to the client files for 7 years – and they may not keep hard or soft copy of them. However, if the adviser and his or her files change dealer groups a number of times over that period, the original dealer group may not be able to access the files. If the original dealer group receives a complaint with regard to one of the files, (or if ASIC requisitions the dealergroup), then it may be in breach of its licence conditions if it cannot access them.
Please feel free to contact us should you require further information.
Author: Paul DerhamAugust 26, 2011 at 4:50 am #3052
With advisers moving licensees, it is definitely difficult to retain access to client files. Complaints tend to come in years after the advice, so the chances that an adviser has left the licensee increase.
I’d be interested to how others are ensuring access to files; I am looking at implementing a requirement to store documents in an online format that the licensee can access immediately, or otherwise for the adviser to provide electronic or hardcopy documents to the licensee.August 31, 2011 at 12:58 am #3053
We grappled with this issue for quite some time as we viewed it as somewhat impractical for an adviser leaving our ASFL to have to provide copies of files, soft or hard, especially when there could be several hundred.
As part of the adviser’s agreement in joining our AFSL an adviser is required to retain client information for 7 years and provide us with access to them. When they leave, we also require them to sign a deed which stipulates that they will continue to provide us with access to their files up to the 7 year period, even in circumstances where they move to further licensees during this period.
This provides us with protection in the event of complaints and puts the onus on them if client information they had is not available to us.
Hope this helps,