is this financial planning’s historic professional moment?



Can the reputation of financial advice in this country finally match the professional A-league of medicos, lawyers, and other professions? Are we on the cusp of a break-through moment for advice, courtesy of Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones’ uptake of select parts of the Levy Quality of Advice review recommendations to sort out red tape and hand additional power to the industry superannuation movement, aka the new limited advice custodians? 

Or are we consigning the advice sector to another 10-year boom and bust cycle of working to  revised rules, finding stability, only to discover unintended consequences of a product-based conflicted model that opens the door to malpractice, fraud, financial hardship and ultimately…. another Government system inquiry? Another Royal Commission anyone?

The irony of a Labor government today signalling its intent to hand greater power to the industry fund movement via the very same instrument of limited advice that was at the root of the great wars on advice by the industry funds and the ACCC in the first place (and subsequent reviews by Labor including the FOFA regime) is a bitter pill for those few advice stalwarts who have battled against the tide of historic regulatory reaction from both sides of politics, frustrating attempts to instigate a trusted profession.

So, these are good questions. Of course the hastening urgency of 5 million boomers about to retire means that the history of advice regulation in this country is but a footnote to their own imminent retirement plans and the looming spike in caravan sales in Australia.

On the question of trust and reputation, I was asked a great opening question by ensombl podcast host James Wrigley recently. James asked: “Is the reputation of advice and the personal reputation of an adviser the same thing?”

My response was that to some degree the two are inseparable, but to those advisers that are seeking a break from the past or have survived the 30 year cycle of ‘death by a thousand regulatory paper cuts’, there are bright days ahead. And lots they can do to uphold a strong and vibrant reputation.

Maybe even a profession up there with the ambos and nurses.

Click here to have a listen!

Bruce Madden

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