• subs-bellGet the latest news! Subscribe to the ifa bulletin

Segregation needs to stop: FPA chair

Heated exchanges between sub-sectors of the financial advice industry are causing “segregation” and hindering the path to professionalism, says FPA chair Neil Kendall.

In an interview with ifa, Mr Kendall – who will take up the position later this month – said the industry has often been its “own enemy” in the past due to squabbling between the various business models and licensing segments, urging advisers to present a unified front.

“I think we need to understand what is good advice and focus on that and focus on looking after our clients rather than 'my business model is better than your business model' discussions that have tended to segregate the industry a bit over time,” Mr Kendall said.

The new chair also said that instead of contributing to mudslinging in “the media”, advisers should go through formal channels if they suspect a fellow adviser is up to no good.

“If we don’t like what someone is doing in the past then we should take it to the appropriate regulator and report it – but that is not a media issue – and if they are doing something different but perfectly acceptable then we should just stay uninvolved with that individual choice,” he said.

At the same time, Mr Kendall said the FPA has been partly successful over recent years in unifying elements of the advice community in its quest to drive professional standards.

“In the last four years we have really seen huge progress for the FPA from being an almost irrelevant organisation to uniting professional planners, being a professional association, working in the consumer's best interest and that – despite being tougher for financial planners – has united them,” he said, paying tribute to the contribution of previous chair Matthew Rowe.

Mr Kendall also reiterated his recent comments that the FPA is “model agnostic”, maintaining that good advice is about individual behaviour not structural issues.

The comments come as ASIC official Louise Macaulay questions whether efforts to raise professional standards without eliminating structural conflicts of interest may be in vain.

Should the advice industry be represented by just one body? Have your say in our latest straw poll.