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Everyone has an opinion, and some people feel compelled to speak out.  Share your views, opinions and insights with financial advisers accross Australia today. If you'd like to write a blog or to submit a letter to the editor please contact the editorial team on [email protected] or call 02 9922 3300.

Latest Comments

‘Winter is coming’ for PI insurance market

With only 5 insurers and premiums jumping with more limitations, with resultant anti-competitive regime appearing, perhaps it is time for the Government to step in with its own PI offering. It would be non-profit. It would be fully funded within itself and not reliant upon re-insurers which generally are the problem, I understand. ASIC is becoming user pays so self funded thus $ are released to build the new "Commonwealth Professional Insurance Scheme" which might, just might, mean realistic premiums and clients, advisers and licencees being protected fairly on all counts... cost, cover and compensation.

1 hour ago.
FPA announces 2017 award winners

I considered entering those awards but thought Do I really want to advance the cause of the Big Four Banks and AMP. I said No.

2 hours ago.
New evidence for dealer group conflicts

Anonymous, It is Angelique, because I could not change the 'Anonymous' default. I believe Aleks will fix it if he gets some time.

19 hours ago.
Banned adviser praised in Parliament

You're a flat-earther, aren't you?

20 hours ago.
New evidence for dealer group conflicts

I agree everyone is conflicted, but not all conflicts are harmful

I assume it is Angelique who wrote this comment and if so I am delighted to hear it from someone who is clearly very independently minded. ASIC and IFAAA continually perpetuate the falsehood of "conflict free advice" when there is no such thing. As you say, everyone is conflicted. Furthermore ASIC and IFAAA's war on insurance commissions would seem to be focused on a conflict that is not actually harmful in a BID and LIF regulated world.

21 hours ago.
New evidence for dealer group conflicts

Brett, thanks for your insight. Statutory best interest duty has changed the identity, role and performance in practice of financial advisers based on the findings of my research. How advisers see themselves and how the legislation views them is different too. Indeed, enforcement by ASIC is on the increase and I suspect with technology may eventually become easier to do given the ATO and Centrelink data matching going on is starting pay dividends for the Treasury.

21 hours ago.
New evidence for dealer group conflicts

Anonymous, we appreciate your comments. From the qualitative data in this research there are many problems with the industry, which will be addressed whether by evolution or revolution. It will depend on advisers and how they embrace by engaging to professionalise financial planning. Not only does my academic job depend on financial planning becoming a recognised profession like other professions, but so does every single financial adviser in the country.

21 hours ago.
New evidence for dealer group conflicts

Anonymous thank you for your thoughts on the matter. As much as I would like to agree with you, I go along with the law. Section 923A of the Commonwealth Corporations Act 2001, which reflects the sentiments of the Australian Government and Regulator ASIC, which represents the Australian public, clearly only differentiates between s923A independent [non-aligned, non-institutionally owned, etc. ] advisers and those who do not comply with this section. That counts as two categories. Also, the role of FASEA, which is also being driven by legislation is working towards professionalising financial planning. Survey respondents (sample of practising advisers) confirm in this research they are open to individual licensing like OTHER professions, such as medical, legal and accounting. I understand many self-licensing advisers have gone to a HUGE expense to self-license and will find any change now quite difficult to stomach.

21 hours ago.
New evidence for dealer group conflicts

Gavin, if you check out my LinkedIn profile, I am pretty strong in the discipline of Economics. Hmm, economies of scale seems to be quite an issue for many who are a part of the big licensees. As far as I understand Economics, hypothetically speaking, what if the allegedly 25,000 ASIC Adviser Register authorised representatives were all accredited [licensed] by a single independent financial planning professional standards body [board] {IFPPSB} after meeting professional, educational and ethical standards and instead of paying monthly 'dealer' fees to their respective AFSL licensees they paid it to a single body. Who now has economies of scale? The multiple AFSL licensees of varying sizes or the IFPSB? According to an article by Professional Planner I think AMP only has about 2,870 advisers??? which body has economies of scale now? Just a hypothetical thought!

21 hours ago.
New evidence for dealer group conflicts

Veteran adviser, thank you for this additional bit of information, because 'vets' have much to contribute to the debate. We all aim to ultimately make for a better more certain future for ourselves, our businesses and the future young financial planners. Indeed, this issue has been longstanding and political. Likely one of the reasons research scholars avoided researching it. We cannot get away from the politics, that's for sure.

21 hours ago.
New evidence for dealer group conflicts

Chris L. thank you for your contribution. We academics crave this engagement and critique. Your point is valid, because it is one of several concerns raised in the survey. Advisers want individual licensing via a single body, BUT they are asking where are the subsidised support services going to come from, what about the cost of a license, cost of compliance and the loss of economies of scale, etc. With this researches substantiated scientifically verified evidence, we can work together on solutions to address them. Yes, academia is often seen as theory versus practice, but that's a myth and anyone who thinks this way is ignorant and should spend some time in a hospital. It should dispel this myth. Besides, academics cannot get funding for research if it does not provide solutions for the real world. Financial planners just need to engage financial planning academics. Although at the moment there are not many of us, you might learn something surprising about the good academics.

22 hours ago.
New evidence for dealer group conflicts

Anonymous, thank you for your interesting thoughts on the matter of best interest and conflicts of interest. What my literature review is very clear about, is aligning adviser-client interests, controlling, managing and avoiding conflicts of interest as well as the best interest duty are legislative requirements. Advisers who completed our survey confirm licensing advisers via third party licensees misaligns adviser-client interests, leads to unintentional [and intentional] breaches of the best interest duty and leads to conflicts of interest from association that can only be managed, seemingly unsuccessfully, via disclosures.This is not me saying this, this is what advisers reported in the survey.

22 hours ago.
New evidence for dealer group conflicts

Indeed, costs and unsubsidised and subsidised licensee support services, together with PI were major concerns for survey respondents. As well as practicality of implementation. Implementation is important, but the most important decision is the decision to change. look at the disruption that occurs when the management of small, medium and large corporations decide to merge across firms, across states, across countries with different legal jurisdictions. they seem to do so quite successfully, albeit with much pain where not everyone, nor the old cultures survives the changes that it brought. So the more engaged advisers are to embrace the change, the better prepared they will be, because if financial planning is to become a true recognised accredited profession, then it will have to meet the requirements other professions have to meet. One of them is independence and autonomy, which the current licensing model threatens.

22 hours ago.
New evidence for dealer group conflicts

Patrick, thank you for your critique, which is important to the further the success of this research. Indeed, I did not address 'implementation' in my research, because first steps first. Before we can make any change to an existing AFSL-AR licensing model, we needed to confirm whether it was legitimate or not. As my research found it to be illegitimate, only now can we consider desirability and appropriateness of an alternative. Our research did find advisers overall were open to individual licensing via a single independent professional standards body [board] desirable. However, we have yet to research the appropriateness of such an approach, especially when the concerns you have raised survey respondents have raised as well. Also, self-licensing via ASIC may be completely different from individual licensing via a single independent professional financial planning standards board [body] funded by advisers and run by advisers like other professions. As Prof Adrian Raftery reminded me at the Personal Finance and Investment Symposium in Hobart on the 21st November, one step at a time. For now, the focus should be on working with FASEA so that all advisers comply with the Professional standards, educational and ethics legislation or you won;t be able to practice without creative systems.

22 hours ago.
New evidence for dealer group conflicts

Yes, PhDs take years and let me tell you four years ago my respect for any academic Doctor So and So depended on his bed-side manner. Well, now I know better. We need more doctorates in financial planning to work with practitioners to shape a better future for the average Australian. FYI, although I have been enrolled as a student since April 2014, this topic came to me in 2011 when I realised my licensee-adviser relationship was making best interest duty more challenging to implement than I had the energy to deal with.

22 hours ago.
New evidence for dealer group conflicts

Anonymous, thank you so much for asking this question. Australian taxpayers and I am paying for the cost of getting a PhD degree, not this topic. This specific research project is not being funded by any external funds, because I realised early on, this is a 'chilly hot' sensitive and controversial topic. Thus, avoiding conflicts was paramount. If I had been offered any grants, even the one I did apply for, because it is one of the requirements I should meet during my PhD candidature, I would have DECLINED them. I even went as far as cancelling my memberships to Financial Planning Association and FINSIA and even unrelated memberships to professional and non-professional bodies. I agree everyone is conflicted, but not all conflicts are harmful and thus we need change as painful as it is right now and is going to be in the future. Know as an ex financial planner, I do empathise with your frustrations, because like medicine and law for example, a career in financial planning is not for wimps.

22 hours ago.
New evidence for dealer group conflicts

Anton, thank you for your transparency by not hiding your identity. Just want to say I am offended, but just a tad, that you would think me the 'typical' academic. To set the record straight, I am actually an atypical, unusual, untypical, non-typical, uncommon, unconventional and quite unorthodox early career academic, who has a PASSION for financial planning. From your comment, I assume, but correct me if I am wrong, your Masters in Financial Planning was taught by academics with zero financial planning experience from a textbook, which was likely outdated. If so, I empathise and hope that any students I teach never leave university feeling the way you do about academia and how it shapes the way they perform their craft in practice. I sincerely hope too, that any scientific research outcomes on adviser licensing is never taken with a grain of salt, because then the public who need financial planners may indeed be impacted negatively. Finally, it saddens me see a highly qualified financial planner so cynical that he would consider this type of research of no use and counter-productive, when it is serves as another means besides media hype to, for instance, give a voice to financial advisers who choose to participate in the debate that potentially affects their livelihoods and futures, as well as those they serve in most cases so well.

23 hours ago.
New evidence for dealer group conflicts

Thank you Anonymous for confirming I am not an atypical academic. Note, I truly miss being a financial planner, but realised early in my financial planning career things needed to change.

23 hours ago.
New evidence for dealer group conflicts

Do the Work, thank you for raising a valid concern. Rest assured, this thesis has been, and is still being heavily scrutinised by many highly knowledgeable and qualified experts using rigorous scientific methods of examination of PhD theses covering hundreds of years. The thesis document has not been finalised, because it has yet to be examined by examiners. Although, as a student I cannot verify it, but maybe my comments to you, if important enough, is being noted by my appointed examiners;). Note I do not even know who my examiners are?

23 hours ago.
New evidence for dealer group conflicts

Mark T. thank you so much for your personal opinion. Indeed, the negativity out there was one of the very reasons for this research. Yes, the UK model is a possible solution. The question we need to ask is whether the UK model is a 'desirable, appropriate and proper' model for the financial planning emerging profession, whereby advisers are recognised and accredited professionals, like doctors, lawyers and accountants? Any researchers keen to tackle this question? We tried to produce a more balanced view in this research using the negativity out there, which was not easy.

23 hours ago.