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‘Lay off advisers’ says Cooper

Former Super System Review chair Jeremy Cooper has hit back at ASIC’s claim that advisers are not sufficiently qualified or focused on retirement advice, saying the blame needs to be laid with other service providers. 

Speaking at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Annual Forum in Sydney yesterday, Cooper – who led the federal government’s review of the Australian superannuation system and is now a senior executive at Challenger – said the role played by advisers in the retirement process is often misrepresented.

“We tend to blame advisers a lot of the time for the difficulties around retirement,” he said.

“But really we should be blaming politicians and policymakers and institutions and product providers who have designed the system.

“Poor advisers are on the frontline but the reality is that retirement is complex and expensive.”

Cooper’s comments were in response to ASIC Commissioner Peter Kell, who told the same event that the regulator is concerned about the work of financial advisers in the retirement phase of their clients’ financial lives.

“Far too many advisers are not able to give strategic advice around retirement issues but are too focused on the accumulation phase,” he said.

Bernard Salt of KPMG, who also addressed the forum, said more broadly that the ‘baby boomer’ generation now entering retirement had “unrealistic expectations” of their financial advisers, as well as politicians and society in general.

“These unrealistic expectations are what led to the situation in Greece and Turkey and what will ultimately be the ‘day of reckoning’ in Australia.”