Training requirements to boost industry confidence

Upcoming government reforms due to change the education requirements for those giving financial advice are necessary to improve investor confidence, the Financial Planning Association (FPA) has said.

The FPA has said it supports new government reforms, which will see accountants requiring limited licences to provide advice on self-managed super funds (SMSFs) and education requirements for financial planners who provide tax advice, to instil further confidence in the industry.

"Obviously people will debate the detail and whether some of it has gone too far or not far enough, but I think you have to say, overall, the changes - though there are a lot of them - are all designed to improve the industry," FPA general manager policy and standards Dante De Gori said.

"In particular, things like accountants having to become licensed are a great thing for consumers. The fact that everybody has to be licensed provides a level playing field, as well as making sure consumers are fully protected."

The SMSF Professionals' Association of Australia (SPAA) recently released a statement noting its support for government reforms and stating that SMSF advisers will need to adapt to changes if they want to remain in the industry.

The FPA has said that reform frameworks would ensure the New Year would be a year of change for all advisers within financial services.

"We would expand [SPAA]'s message. I think the reality is that 2013 is the year of change for all financial advisers," Mr De Gori said.

"Professionals aren't categorised by what products they sell. Whether it's SMSF advisers, managed trusts, Centrelink or aged care, it doesn't really matter because the reforms are going to impact everybody in the industry."

However the FPA has said that details surrounding new regulations in financial services need to be clearer so advisers can ensure their practices are compliant.

"There is still some finer detail around regulations that has to be worked out, and that's holding up some of the work," Mr De Gori said.

"But the reality is most people have been working towards this date for some time."

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