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NTAA unrepentant in attack on planners

Calls for an apology from the National Tax and Accountants’ Association have fallen on deaf ears, with the body effectively reiterating last week’s damaging comments about financial planners. 

On 5pm on Friday afternoon the NTAA’s leadership finally broke its silence, authorising a media release in response to the original statement, claiming last Monday’s vicious comments about the integrity of financial planners were warranted.

“The recent article regarding approaching a stranger for financial advice has created significant response from membership groups such as the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) and the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA),” the statement conceded.

“Like these groups, (NTAA) is a group that exists to represent its members. In producing the article in question, the NTAA was simply expressing the view of its members.”

The statement said that during the recent NTAA tax school seminars, NTAA members voiced their frustration with the “financial planning community” and the accountant’s exemption rule.

While the follow-up statement gave a half-nod to harmony, suggesting the NTAA's membership is against a “turf war” between the two sectors, it went on to reiterate the sentiments in the first release.

“While the NTAA understands that its comments have angered some in the financial planning community, the media release was intended only to warn retirees about protecting their retirement savings, as the actions of an unethical adviser on an unsuspecting consumer is potentially catastrophic,” it said.

“Whilst we acknowledge there are ethical and responsible financial advisers it must also be acknowledged that a consumer may find it difficult to determine a financial adviser’s competence and integrity.

“Further, the article counselled that if the accountant was not a financial adviser then the accountant could provide a referral to a financial adviser that they know and trust.

“This is where the accountant with whom the client has built a trusted relationship over time can provide great value."

The statement also claims that “groups such as the FPA and AFA believe there to be little if any divide between the financial planning industry and the accounting profession”.

However, just last week AFA chief executive Brad Fox, when speaking to ifa about the NTAA matter, said “accounting and financial planning are not the same thing, they have never been the same thing – you can be licensed to do both – but they have very different functions”.

The statement then goes on to promote NTAA Advice, a separate association which it says aims to guide its members “through the transition to giving advice under the requirements of the Corporations Act when licensed under an [AFSL].”

The NTAA remains unavailable for an interview.