The Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) has learned a lot about political negotiations in the past seven years, outgoing chief executive Richard Klipin told a packed room of attendees at a leaving drinks function.
Incoming chief executive Brad Fox paid tribute to Mr Klipin's hard work over seven years since he took on the role in 2006. Mr Klipin said that when he assumed the role he hadn't expected to become a spokesperson for the industry in political negotiations.
The association also benefited from a couple of years of solid growth prior to the global financial crisis so it was in a strong position by the time issues such as Storm Financial, the Ripoll Review and then Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms began to emerge.
"The learning out of that is that as an industry we have to get on the front foot," Mr Klipin said. "We have to engage with politicians, not only in FOFA and Storm times, but also when times are good. I think that's the opportunity of the time and energy and money we've spent looking to do that."
The association benefited from having links to the political sphere through AFA political strategist Kerry Chikarovski, who helped arrange meetings with all the relevant senior politicians, Mr Klipin added.
Mr Klipin said one of the most powerful and important aspects of his time leading the AFA was helping to build and create a community in which people felt like they belonged.
"What we try to create is a community where people wanted to come, where they wanted to learn and connect," he said. "The best example was the conference last year - I still hear lots of positive stories of things that came out of the conference."
Mr Klipin also credited the association's GenXT initiative, started in 2006, for increasing the focus on younger advisers and broadening the membership.
At the conclusion of proceedings, Mr Fox presented Mr Klipin with a certificate of lifetime membership of the AFA.
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