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Govt register to ‘overshadow’ Adviser Ratings

The government’s proposed register of advisers is a better alternative to “opportunistic” rivals, says one lobbyist and member of the industry working group.

Reflecting on the announcement of the government register, AIOFP executive director Peter Johnston – who took part in the adviser register consultation process – said the initiative will ultimately become the dominant register for consumers.

“We believe this register will overshadow the other recently-announced, commercially-focused and opportunistic adviser registers,” Mr Johnston told ifa, referring to the Adviser Ratings and Westpac Adviser View websites.

These websites – which rely upon current consumer sentiment – are flawed because clients do not understand that “institutionally aligned advisers are selling in-house product” and will express their opinion based on whether their advisers are “nice people”, Mr Johnston said.

However, the team behind the Adviser Ratings website has welcomed the government register, with spokesperson Christopher Zinn expressing hope that the whole industry, “bar the cowboys”, benefits from these registers and ratings sites.

“The ASIC register will complement the energies of other sites and platforms, such as Adviser Ratings, where they truly seek to inject far more transparency and competition into the sector,” Mr Zinn said.

“There’s no doubt the financial planning industry will look very closely at the register and the challenge will be to ensure so far as is possible that consumers realise it’s in their interests to do likewise.”

FPA chief executive Mark Rantall also previously told ifa that the government’s register is ultimately likely to become the pre-eminent online tool of this kind, alongside the FPA’s ‘find a financial planner’ and ‘ask an expert’ services.

A number of lobby groups have welcomed the release of the details of the government’s register, including the AFA, FPA and FSC, as well as the Australian Bankers’ Association and the Stockbrokers’ Association of Australia.

Meanwhile, Industry Super Australia has called for the register to go further and include information about any “bonus or incentive payments” paid to advisers.