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ABC gives oxygen to rise of IFAs

The public broadcaster has shone a light on growing consumer demand for independent financial advice in the wake of “scandals” in the institutionally-owned sector.

On Wednesday night ABC TV’s The Business program ran an opening segment on independent advice, ahead of the IFAAA national symposium in Sydney next week.

“Financial planners are now the butt of TV satires on top of bad press and attacks from industry super funds,” the report began. “[Which is] why a group of independent financial planners is making a stand.”

IFAAA president Daniel Brammall told the program that his organisation has been gaining traction in the advice community in recent months, as previously revealed to ifa.

“We are seeing a small but growing minority of financial planners enquiring with us, week in week out,” Mr Brammall said.

“They are starting to get the idea that there is another way; [that] they can crack out of the mould that they grew up with, become more professional and become genuinely independent.”

The lobbyist and practice principal said the upcoming symposium – for which ifa is exclusive media partner – will explain how advisers can “abandon the conflicts in spite of the industry” and provide strategies for Corporations Act-compliant independence.

Appearing in the same report, shadow financial services minister Bernie Ripoll suggested the consumer-facing media has played a role in changing attitudes towards licensing issues.

“A lot more interest has been taken by mainstream media, which has created an environment for the public; they’re paying more attention and are more tuned in to what’s happening,” he said.

The report also hinted at the Commonwealth Bank financial planning scandal being a factor, showing footage of CBA chief executive Ian Narev telling an audience that the bank “let [its] customers down and in doing so breached [a] fundamental trust”.

FPA chief executive Mark Rantall was also interviewed, speaking more broadly to the need for increased professional standards.

“We know that education standards and professional standards and accountability to those standards does lift the quality of financial advice in this country,” Mr Rantall said.

His comments follow incoming FPA chair Neil Kendall’s suggestion that professional standards are a more significant determinant of behaviour than licensing arrangements.

“Business models do not matter; licensees do not matter,” Mr Kendall said.

Registrations for the IFAAA national symposium close today.