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Associations on FOFA offensive

The AFA and FPA have issued a collective call to arms, hitting back at the “empty rhetoric” from product providers and mainstream media commentators.

With mainstream media reports condemning the FOFA amendments growing in number by the day – including shadow treasurer Chris Bowen’s appearance on ABC TV’s Lateline last night reiterating the ALP’s opposition – the two major financial advice industry associations have both gone on the offensive.

“The squabble over Australia’s retirement pool needs to stop – client and advisers are on the same side of the fence,” AFA chief executive Brad Fox told the AFA GenXT roadshow in Sydney today, adding that the latest mainstream media suggestion of a “return to commissions” is a “fallacy”.

“We risk a whole generation of retirees moving into that phase of their lives without advice – that is what’s at stake,” he said.

Meanwhile, last night the FPA issued a strong statement condemning the “empty product rhetoric” and “scare mongering” creeping into the public debate on the FOFA best interests duty.

Speaking to ifa, Mr Rantall added that “this issue is too important to allow it to be politicised”, given the consumer protection ramifications of the debate.

“Everybody is entitled to their opinion and product providers are entitled to their view, but they don’t speak for the consumer or represent the public interest as the profession does,” he said.

Offering a perspective on the regulatory and legislative year ahead, AFA chief operating officer Phil Anderson told the GenXT roadshow “it is clear the ALP will not support” the amendments.

However, Mr Anderson also touched on a note of optimism, anticipating that the new members of the federal Senate due to take their seats in July may well have a more “favourable view of small business” – meaning they may be open to listening to the industry’s concerns.

Yesterday, ifa reported comments made by Industry Super Australia chair and former NSW Liberal Opposition leader Peter Collins at the Financial Advice in Super Symposium in Melbourne on Friday, in which he pledged the ISA would be ramping up its anti-amendment rhetoric.

For ifa's take on the role played by the industry associations in the FOFA consultation and amendment process click here