Seminar: Financial Advice - General or Personal or Something Else?

Event venue: 
Herbert Smith Freehills, ANZ Tower, 161 Castlereagh St, Sydney CBD.
Event date: 
Thursday, March 14, 2019 -
08:00 to 09:30

The CLMR in collaboration with Herbert Smith Freehills hosted a distinguished panel of speakers on Thursday 21st to discuss the complex distinction between the provision of general and personal financial advice. In particular, the panel considered the court’s approach to this question in the recent Federal Court decision, ASIC v Westpac [2018] FCA 2078.

Drawing upon their varied and extensive experience in academia, private practice and public service, the panel provided a comprehensive overview of the decision that Honourable Dr Robert Austin remarked is “the most significant case in Australia on the nature of personal advice”. The panel also considered the broader implications of this decision. Professor Dimity Kingsford-Smith (CLMR), Dr Austin, Michael Vrisakis (HSF) and Joanna Bird’s (ASIC) presentations covered the context and facts of ASIC v Westpac, the issues raised by the case and the recent notice of appeal submitted by ASIC, and the perspective of ASIC vis-à-vis its policy and enforcement priorities.

The central theme of the panel’s discussion was the uncertain practical implications the decision creates for financial service providers. The Panel also considered how Gleeson J’s decision meshes with the Royal Commission’s Final Report, particularly the Commissioner’s view of the relationship between financial institutions and their customers.


  • The Hon Dr Robert Austin, barrister and former Justice of the Supreme Court of NSW
  • Mr Michael Vrisakis, partner Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Ms Joanna Bird, Executive Director, Wealth Management, ASIC
  • Prof Dimity Kingsford Smith, MinterEllison Professor of Risk and Regulation, UNSW Law

Seminar Chair: Dr Scott Donald, Director, Centre for Law Markets and Regulation, UNSW Law

Seminar documents:

ASIC vs Westpac

Personal Financial Product Advice under the Corporations Act