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AIOFP ups ante on vertical integration

The Association of Independently Owned Financial Planners (AIOFP) has formed a consultative committee of its members to better lobby for its political objectives, including regulation of vertical integration and cross-subsidisation.

Speaking to ifa from Hong Kong, AIOFP executive director Peter Johnston said the association’s board was forced to up its organisational approach to lobbying as the independent sector had been neglected in FOFA negotiations.

“We were disappointed with the outcomes of FOFA and the negotiations conducted by other parties,” Mr Johnston said.

“I suppose we can’t expect other groups to look after the independent advisers as they have institutional interests to consider. We were quite naïve thinking our issues would be covered.”

The AIOFP wants to see greater scrutiny of issues including cross-subsidisation by vertically integrated businesses and “discrimination and licensee ownership transparency”.

It also seeks the abandonment of FOFA’s opt-in requirement – which the Coalition pledged to remove in its recent productivity policy document – and a re-evaluation of the way in which platforms are regulated.

Mr Johnston indicated the consultative committee will be making submissions in the near future to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and relevant ministers, and that shadow minister for financial services Mathias Cormann has acknowledged the formation of the body.

The committee comprises 12 AIOFP members, including Beacon Financial chief Peter Daly, Wealthsure’s Darren Pawksi, Darren Steinhardt of In Focus and Synchron managing director Don Trapnell.

Mr Trapnell recently joined the AIOFP, telling ifa the organisation allows a more unified front for non-institutionally aligned businesses to lobby against issues such as cross-subsidisation.

“We felt that as a licensee we needed to align ourselves with like-minded licensees that operated in the non-institutional space,” Mr Trapnell said, adding that Synchron will nonetheless retain its strong support of the Association of Financial Advisers.