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AFA hails ‘age of consumer’

The Association of Financial Advisers has outlined its objectives for 2013, listing an increase in the number of Australians seeking professional advice as its top priority.

Speaking at the AFA partner briefing in Sydney last night, the organisation’s chief executive Brad Fox said the industry needs to re-focus on consumers. 

“If there’s one collective thing that we should all be working on together – putting aside the budgets and balance sheets and day-to-day concerns – it's increasing the number of people that want to get personal advice,” he said.

“We need to help Australians to take more control of their financial future; for 25 years we’ve been underplaying our potential role to play,” he added.

“This is the theme for 2013: ‘The age of the consumer,’ they should be at the heart of everything."

Describing the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms as a “change moment,” Mr Fox said advisers need to “build a career of conviction” and focus on their commitment to clients and quality of advice.

“Invest in your education and be committed,” he told the audience of AFA staff and partners. “The time for debate is over; we won some and lost some, now what matters is becoming ‘best of breed’ advisers.”

While issues such as product sales, advice and charging models and practice efficiency will of course be important for advisers, putting the client relationship front and centre will be the key to “attracting the next two out of ten we need to grow the advice market,” Mr Fox said.

The partner briefing followed the first AFA board meeting under the new leadership, in which the board outlined its dual goals of “leading the market to advice” and “to consistently become the association of choice for the advice market."