Financial advisers to meet new standards

National Seniors has welcomed a new authority set up to oversee the standards and ethics of financial advisers.

Former Chief Executive of National Seniors, Michael O’Neill, is one of three directors with consumer advocacy experience who have been appointed to the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA).

The other five directors include three with financial services experience, an ethicist and an academic.

Pensions increase with inflation rate from 20 March

Nearly five million people will get a small rise in their pensions or government allowances from 20 March as part of the twice-yearly indexation.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter said the 1.3 per cent increase reflected the Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the six months to December 2016.

The Age Pension and Disability Support Pension will lift by $11.20 a fortnight, bringing the maximum single rate to $888.30 a fortnight.

The rate will rise by $16.80 for a couple combined to $1,339.20 (including Pension Supplement and Energy Supplement).

Cutting the cost of glasses for South Australians

A new program has been launched in South Australia to provide low income residents with affordable glasses.

Pensioners, people living with disability and the unemployed will be eligible for new spectacles every three years under GlassesSA, a partnership with the State Government and Optometry SA.

People who receive a full Centrelink pension, such as the Age Pension or a disability pension or receive full Newstart Allowance will pay a maximum of $25 for glasses with single vision lenses, $50 for those with bifocal lenses and $100 for glasses with multifocal lenses.

One in two households set for comfortable retirement, report shows

Only one in two Australian households are expected to have enough money for a comfortable retirement, a new report shows.

The latest CommBank Retire Ready Index released this week shows that 53 per cent of households would have enough combined super, personal assets and the Age Pension.

But when the Age Pension was removed, the number of households able to afford a comfortable retirement dropped to 17 per cent, and to a meagre six per cent when based on superannuation only.

Higher standards for financial advisers

Financial advisers will have to meet higher educational, ethical and qualification standards after legislation passed in federal parliament this week.

Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer, said the new standards, which  come into force on 1 January 2019, mean that all new financial advisers must hold a relevant degree, pass an approved exam, undertake a professional year, commit to ongoing professional development and comply with a Code of Ethics.

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