General Advice is a process through which a Representative assists the client to make informed choices by providing factual information or very limited product recommendations only. General Advice is only provided where the client’s needs or circumstances are not considered by the Representative and is typically limited to information given in response to a specific query initiated by a client and the client does not expect you to consider their circumstances.
Factual information may be tailored to be more relevant (i.e. sending a brochure on retirement income streams to an audience of over 55yos). Using personal information to tailor the information presented so that only relevant information is provided is fine. However, if you take into consideration an individual client’s objectives, financial circumstances or needs you will be giving Personal Advice regardless of providing a General Advice warning.
If at any point in the client interaction you become aware of a client’s needs or circumstances or the client could reasonably have expected you to have considered their objectives, financial circumstances or needs, you would essentially be in personal advice territory.
Therefore General Advice businesses need documented processes and scripts for their advisers to ensure they consistently remain within the realms of General Advice and are able to demonstrate that they complied with the advice provisions as set out in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).