The Financial Planning Association of Australia The Financial Planning Association of Australia

Implementation of reforms need to be in the best interest of the consumer, says FPA

At the Senate Economics Committee Hearing today, the Financial Planning Association (FPA) announced that they would support a one year transition and implementation timeframe of the FoFA reforms.

At today’s hearing, Dante De Gori, General Manager Policy and Government relations of the FPA, reiterated that the FPA supports the majority of the FoFA reforms and outlining the changes they believe should be implemented in the best interest of the consumer.

“The FPA continues to support the majority of the FoFA reforms, the intent behind the reforms, and the importance of improving transparency of, and access to, financial advice for all Australians. In order to ensure the reforms are implemented accurately, while ensuring the reforms are workable and facilitate a vibrant industry to provide quality advice going forward, we would recommend that the government announces a one year transition timeframe. We believe this would allow all financial planners the time needed to implement these reforms in a transparent and efficient way,” De Gori said.

“The FPA and our members continue to strive for a financial planning profession that serves the community and provides Australians with the best possible financial advice and support. These reforms are integral to the financial future of all Australians, therefore we want to ensure that discussions around and the implementation of the reforms are not rushed, potentially resulting in unintended consequences.”

As per the Parliamentary Joint Committee meeting in January, the FPA again stated that the original intent of the FoFA reforms should be adhered to, ensuring that:

Financial advice must be in the client’s best interests – distortions to remuneration, which misalign the best interests of the client and the adviser, should be minimised; and

In minimising these distortions, financial advice should not be put out of reach of those who would benefit from it.

The FPA, which represents nearly 10,000 of Australia’s financial planners, has been an active advocate both for its members and for consumers throughout the FoFA debate, and has led the way on many proposed reforms. The FPA released the remuneration policy on banning investment commissions to members in 2009 and it is due to commence on 1 July 2012; the number one principle in the FPA Code of Professional Practice requires members to place the interests of their clients ahead of their own; and FPA practitioner members all work to higher professional standards than required by law.

The Senate Economics Legislative Committee, Chaired by Senator Mark Bishop is holding public hearings today and tomorrow to collate and examine submissions from prominent industry stakeholders about the FoFA Bills as tabled in parliament late last year.

The FPA was represented by Dante De Gori, General Manager of Policy and Government Relations and Dr Deen Sanders, Chief Professional Officer and architect of the FPA Code of Professional Practice.

FPA CEO Mark Rantall has been representing the financial planning profession at the first sitting of the newly announced Super Roundtable chaired by the Hon Bill Shorten in Canberra today discussing the proposed changes to the concessional contributions caps as a result of the transitional arrangements ending on 30 June 2012 and how it can logistically work for Australians moving forward.

Click here to read the FPA’s opening address.