ASIC warns real estate agents to stay away from giving financial advice
Isolated reports of agents giving financial advice and asking customers to break quarantine are just that – isolated – and in no way reflect the broader conduct of agents across Australia doing everything they can to serve their customers and keep their jobs in the COVID-19 crisis.
Tim McKibbin, CEO of the Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW), said the overwhelming majority of agents are doing the right thing in these challenging times.
“Like every industry, those working in real estate have seen the operating landscape shift dramatically in recent weeks, even days. Agents are drawing on their experience, seeking the support of their colleagues and acting on the guidance of representative bodies like the REINSW to steer them through. We are here for them,” Mr McKibbin says.
“The REINSW and other Institutes across the country are busy keeping their members up to date through this ever-changing situation and we have again directed agents to refer customer enquiries of a financial nature to the Government’s www.moneysmart.gov.au website.
“In this terrible time, we are seeing some of our best agents do some of their best work, matching people with property and negotiating outcomes that provide their customers peace of mind at a time of unprecedented stress.
“These agents should be applauded and certainly not tarnished by the actions of a select few who have, innocently or not, over-stepped the mark in terms of offering financial advice,” he says.
ASIC has today written to the REINSW and other Institutes to reinforce that agents are not authorised to provide financial advice to their customers.
Mr McKibbin says the REINSW does not condone any conduct by agents – or anyone – which contravenes the law or the health advice issued by the Government.
“The rules of engagement for agents to serve their customers are clear and the work of REINSW, the Real Institute of Australia and other state and territory bodies to increase the level of professional training and accreditation for agents is critical here,” she says.
“We absolutely encourage any agents in need of support, advice or clarification on how they can best help their customers to contact their industry representative urgently.”