The AFA and AIOFP are hell-bent on ensuring that FPA membership is not made compulsory, seeking to become deemed ‘professional associations’ themselves.
Last week the FPA revealed it was nearing completion of its application to be accredited by the government’s Professional Standards Council (PSC) as a “professional association”, following the parliament’s recommendation that “professional association membership” be made mandatory for practising advisers.
AFA CEO Brad Fox told ifa yesterday that although his association has not traditionally supported compulsory membership, it supports efforts to raise professional standards and will play ball should the PJC recommendation be enacted by the government.
“Obtaining approval of a professional standards scheme is a complex and demanding process and the expectation from the PSC is that it will take at least 12 months,” he said.
“We have commenced discussions with the [PSC] and subject to the government’s response to the PJC report, we would take this pathway.
“We are working through all the implications as a matter of priority and can adapt to meet whatever standards are required of us to support our financial adviser members.”
AIOFP executive director Peter Johnston has revealed his association will also seek professional status with the PSC, so that its members “are not forced to join other associations to stay in business”.
“We intend on complying with whatever the guidelines are to satisfy the requirements,” Mr Johnston told ifa, adding, however, that the details are yet to be released.
However, the PJC also recommended that any group seeking to become an accredited “professional association” should allow only individual practitioner members, not corporate members, meaning that – should the government abide by the same definition – both the AFA and AIOFP may need to adjust their current structures as both permit licensee or other business entity members.
The comments come as the AIOFP announces it will be accepting individual practitioner members for the first time since its launch in 1998, in response to the growing ranks of non-aligned advisers.
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