Following CPA Australia’s entry into the financial advice space, chief executive Alex Malley has urged the accounting industry to “reclaim its rightful territory of advice”.
Mr Malley said that up until about 20 years ago, advice was solely the domain of accountants.
“[It was around] then that others came into the profession, into the financial planning area, and as a result, that brought other people into the advice market,” Mr Malley told a recent CPA Australia conference.
“[Recently] I referred to the financial services sector these days being the largest circus tent in town.
“[ASIC commissioner] Greg Tanzer mentioned [at the CPA National SMSF Conference] some of those people that we’d hate to think of as part of our financial services sector given their behaviours, but effectively the financial services sector is defined today as anyone who’s an agent for insurance at one end and the quadruple degree at CPA at the other, and we’re all under this banner of financial services advice.”
Mr Malley said the accounting profession must now decide whether “to take the leadership in this area – what we call reclaiming our territory”.
He acknowledged there were, however, some challenges ahead for the profession in achieving this.
“The regulations have changed, and I have said to various ministers and regulators over the past 12 months to just spare a moment for accountants that have given the same advice to the same client for the past 30 years and now can’t give them the same advice,” Mr Malley said.
“We recognise how challenging that is, but we also recognise that we have sent extraordinary amounts of communications about this.”
It is also important to understand how politics is impacting regulations, he added.
“The politics that is impacting on regulations is quite profound. Every time a politician of any persuasion gets up and says they’re going to protect the world from everything, all the time, it puts more and more pressure on the regulator,” he said.
“It’s important that our voice becomes stronger and stronger in the public eye, so we can ensure there are some sensibilities in what you inherit.”
Several firms have been impacted by the corporate regulator’s action.
Super funds must now have a retirement income strategy in place.
Vanguard has called for a complete overhaul of the advice industry.
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