Advisers reject compulsory association membership

The vast majority of respondents to an ifa straw poll have indicated that membership of an industry association should not be a licence requirement.

Of the 192 respondents to the straw poll, 130 (67.7 per cent) answered ‘no’ to the question of whether industry association membership should be compulsory under the conditions of an AFSL, with 62 (32.3 per cent) opting for ‘yes’.

Commenting on the straw poll, ifa readers presented a range of views. Some readers were philosophical in their response. “I reject compulsion,” wrote Brian McDougall.

Another reader equated mandatory membership of an industry body with compulsory union membership, adding that membership may not necessarily equal professionalism.

On this same point, Alison Carman wrote that “most of the people and groups who have been convicted of fraud and various other misdemeanours in our industry have been members of the various industry associations and to be associated with them professional through an industry group is not an attractive proposition.”

While drawing a distinction between a “professional association” and an “industry association”, Financial Planning Association chief executive Mark Rantall supported the idea of voluntary association membership more broadly.

“We would like to see every Financial Planning practitioner sign up to their profession voluntarily,” he told ifa.

“We would submit if our industry wants to be regarded as a universally respected profession, then that will need to happen at some stage. That is the case in other professions that have a significant impact on the public.”

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