A former federal opposition leader has called on the financial planning industry to strengthen its educational standards in order to improve its reputation among consumers.
Speaking to ifa about the government’s proposed Bill to enshrine the term ‘financial planner’, former Liberal leader and current chairman of Shartru Wealth John Hewson said professional tags should reflect qualifications and training.
“Far too many times in this industry have we seen individuals with little to no actual training – both technically and practically – causing untold harm to investors and by extension to the planning industry,” Hewson said.
“A medical practitioner requires specific training to become that; likewise a lawyer trains specifically in the law.
“The education required to become a financial adviser or planner should be as rigorous as any other university course.”
Calling for peer-assessed, industry-driven education and training standards to be introduced for the financial advice profession, Hewson said this would have a greater impact on investor sentiment than an enshrinement Bill.
“Until the actual training requirements pertaining to becoming a financial adviser or planner are standardised, then those holding themselves out to be just that may be inadequate and 'enshrining' the term will do little to create confidence in the industry or protect the reputations of advisers,” he said.
Hewson’s comments come as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has announced it is postponing the national adviser examination, blaming heavy workload due to Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reform implementation.
Both the Association of Financial Advisers and Financial Planning Association welcomed the move.
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