Tax accounting lobby attacks planners

The National Tax and Accountants’ Association has launched a scathing critique of financial planners, describing the industry as “bereft of integrity” and warning consumers against taking advice from a planner.

In a statement released yesterday, NTAA Advice, the industry association’s financial advice arm, reminded consumers of the Storm Financial collapse and warned against taking advice from a “stranger”.

“We teach our children about stranger danger, but we don’t always listen to our own advice,” the statement said.

“The fact is that it’s not just our children that should be wary of strangers. Millions of potential retirees should be equally scared of strangers when it comes to investing their life savings.

“An estimated 3,000 to 4,000 investors in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria lost around $3 billion, after placing their savings with financial planning group, Storm Financial before it collapsed in 2008.Storm’s cavalier attitude to investing in shares ruined the lives of thousands of elderly investors.”

Referring to the Best Interest Duty introduced by FOFA, the statement asks: “How can an industry be so bereft of integrity that the government has had to legislate that they act in their clients’ best interests?”

NTAA spokesperson Kristyn House issued a direct warning to “soon-to-be-retirees”:

“If you want to protect and maximise your retirement savings, ask your accountant how,” she said.

“If they are a qualified financial adviser, great; if not, at least they will be able to guide you in the right direction. Don’t go to a stranger who has just recently had the law changed on them so they are now forced to do the right thing.”

According to Ms House, an accountant is “the one person people have learnt to trust with their financial affairs".

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