The financial advice industry needs a "single united body" to drive the industry forward and not individual associations that are divided by ties to product providers, says Connect Financial Service Brokers chief executive Paul Tynan.
According to Mr Tynan, the "loudest voices" that claim to know what is best for the advice industry are "invariably attached" to product providers and self-interested groups, which is particularly the case for the AFA and FPA.
Mr Tynan said that what advisers and the industry actually need is "one voice" based purely on providing advice and separated from product offerings – and that can only be provided if the AFA and FPA merge into a single membership-based professional organisation, he said.
"By having the advice associations merge into a single united body, we will reinforce the emphasis on advice and the outcome will be real leadership and genuine vision," he said.
"In doing so, the advice sector is united and not divided on the current product lines and this would take the industry to the next level and give it immense credibility with consumers and regulators."
In response, outgoing FPA chief executive Mark Rantall told ifa the association is "completely product and licensee agnostic" and is focused only on making the financial advice sector a stronger profession.
"I would advocate that we have moved quite a distance to becoming a respected profession... and we are on the cusp of having a legislated profession," he said.
"Individual practitioner members are the only voting members of the organisation," he added.
"From the FPA's point of view, we stand with Australians for a better financial future. That means we have a public interest duty – we get up every day to lift the advice and education standards [in Australia] and we do that through certification, education, through codes of professional conduct and holding people accountable to them.
"At the end of the day, whether there is one or more professional associations, it is entirely a matter for those associations and the boards and members of those associations," Mr Rantall said.
The AFA was also contacted by ifa for a response. However, the association was unable to provide comment.
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