FPA launches Code of Professional Practice consultation
Proposed revisions to the Financial Planning Association’s (FPA) Code of Professional Practice have been announced to evolve the professional standards of members in line with the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms and the ASIC’s RG183 – Consultation Paper 191 Future of Financial Advice: Approval of codes of conduct for exemption from opt-in requirement – released earlier today.
The FPA Code of Professional Practice in its current form was launched in 2009 and remains the only full suite of professional regulations, incorporating ethical principles, practice standards and conduct rules for financial planners in Australia.
FPA General Manager, Policy and Standards, Dante De Gori said that the professional body is welcoming the opportunity to support members with an enhanced Code of Professional Practice that solves the challenges posed by FoFA through a robust set of additional principles to guide appropriate behaviours and practices in the provision of advice.
“While the Code contains fundamental principles and standards that endure over time, it also makes sense to evolve the Code to take into account the changing environment. The modifications we are proposing will ensure that the Code is the full solution for financial planners and their clients, while standing the test of time long after the FoFA reforms are a distant memory”, said Mr De Gori.
The proposed changes take into account the four key elements of the FoFA reforms (Opt-in, Best Interests Duty, Scaled Advice and Conflicted Remuneration), as well as the criteria contained in the ASIC consultation paper (CP191) released today on approving Codes of Conduct, in particular the requirements for class order relief from obviating the need to comply with opt-in.
On the consultation paper (CP191) Mr De Gori commented, “The FPA will be providing a separate full submission, including member feedback, in response to the ASIC consultation paper. We are confident that the changes we have proposed in our Code of Professional Practice consultation paper are consistent with, and meet the requirement of, the proposals in the ASIC RG183 paper.”
Mr De Gori believes the evolution of the FPA’s Code of Professional Practice is a key part of the ongoing effort by the FPA to transition financial planning into a universally respected profession and grow consumer trust and confidence in financial planning.
“Our members’ commitment to the Code is what sets them apart from other financial planners. The prospect of a future in which professional regulation works in conjunction with legal regulation is bound to result in better advice outcomes for consumers”, said Mr De Gori.
The FPA will accept feedback and submissions on their consultation paper for six weeks and during this time will undertake extensive consultation with a range of stakeholders.
“This is a Code for all FPA members; therefore, members will have a range of ways to provide their feedback to these proposed changes given it will help shape their professional futures. In addition, we will continue our ongoing engagement with other key stakeholders such as Minister Shorten’s office, Treasury, the Opposition, ASIC, FOS, the licensee community and other consumer groups and industry associations”, said Mr De Gori.
The FPA Code of Professional Practice consultation period ends on 30 November. The Association anticipates obtaining FPA Board approval on final changes to the Code early next year. Then, it will submit the revised Code to ASIC for approval. In the meantime, the FPA is also developing a range of educational webinars, user guides, videos and other practical resources to roll out to members starting in November to support them on how to use the Code of Professional Practice in the lead up to the 1 July 2013 FoFA deadline.
Details of the FPA Code consultation can be found at www.fpabestpractice.com.au/newcode.