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FPA turns social for 'Ask an Expert'

The Financial Planning Association (FPA) will next week launch a new 'Ask an Expert' initiative that allows consumers to get free feedback from professional advisers.

FPA chief executive Mark Rantall said the online-only initiative would be promoted mainly though social media, given the increasing tendency of Australians to look to channels such as Twitter to ask questions and educate themselves.

"We're using Twitter increasingly and Facebook to a lesser degree, and finding that the internet is a really important source for consumers thinking about seeking out advice and who they can look to for that advice," Mr Rantall said.

Google search in particular is widely used by Australians in a whole range of areas related to financial planning and advice, he added.

People will be able to ask questions through the Ask an Expert initiative, either through the FPA's website ataskanexpert.fpadifference.com.au or via Twitter using the #AskanExpert hashtag. There will be a panel of qualified Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) answering questions, and consumers can expect a response within 48 to 72 hours, according to the FPA.

Mr Rantall said although the answers would be along the lines of "general advice", that could then lead to the provision of personal advice if need be.

The initiative is being run in conjunction with the FPA's annual Financial Planning Week in August, which Mr Rantall said had been an "outstanding success".


"So we thought, 'What a great way to kick off the New Year, to provide people an opportunity to ask an expert financial planner, for no cost or obligation, simple questions that have been on their mind'," he said.

For example this may include things they have been looking into as a result of their New Year's resolutions, he added.

Topics the FPA expected to be popular, based on issues raised during Financial Planning Week, included: how to find a financial planner, budgeting, debt, superannuation, saving, investing, mortgages, retirement, property, tax and wealth creation.