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

FPA signals shift in professional Code obligation: let substance be your guide

The Financial Planning Association (FPA) today backed industry calls to uphold the basic requirement that financial planners belong to a recognised professional association as part of the broader industry’s duty of care to Australian consumers.

FPA chief executive Mark Rantall said: “This is a no-brainer argument. While we welcome the debate, the fact is the overriding weight of momentum is propelling our industry towards a profession. Why? Because a majority of planners and consumers want such an outcome. And our legislators and regulators seek the certainty of dealing with a set of substantive legal, ethical and consumer centric requirements, which they will either endorse or impose.

“So, far better that we don’t wait for an imposed set of standards – and move quickly to a self-regulated model where all parties, not least the Australian consumer, has the full confidence of dealing with professionals operating under a robust code of conduct and professional standards.”

Mr Rantall’s comments followed remarks by large licensee AMP last week which flagged its intention to mandate compulsory professional membership for its planners, pending the endorsement of various codes by the corporate regulator, ASIC.

“The decision to set the bar high by our industry was made two years ago when over 94 per cent of our members who voted, voted to become a profession. Key to this vote was supporting the substance and validity of a Code of practice and professional standards.

“We know that this also has a sound economic rationale: licensees with greater numbers of CFPs benefit by reducing corporate risk and incidence of complaints, while substantially improving the client relationship and overall business revenues.

“On any measure it simply makes sense,” Mr Rantall said.