The FPA has clarified the nature of its Professional Partner Program for licensees, following criticism aired by ifa readers.
Speaking to ifa on the sidelines of the FPA’s 2017 Professionals Congress in Hobart, FPA head of policy and government relations Ben Marshan said the program has no influence over the industry association’s ability to lobby for matters of public interest.
He explained that the Professional Partner Program was a way for AFSLs to help their members meet the FPA codes of ethics and professional practice.
“We have individual members, but individual members are licensed by AFSLs, and so a number of the AFSLs have entered into the FPA Professional Partner Program,” Mr Marshan said
“What they’re doing is pledging to support their members in complying with FPA standards, assisting us in helping our members in the work they do and the work we do. It’s a partnership program between an AFSL and the FPA to support the individual members.”
Responding to article comments from ifa readers, Mr Marshan said the partnership “has no impact” on the association’s ability to lobby for the public interest.
“Every decision we make, everything we’re looking for is firstly whether or not it’s in the consumer’s best interest, whether or not it helps financial planning as a profession and whether or not it makes the regulatory environment more efficient,” Mr Marshan said.
“The reality is the way that the Professional Partner Program works is that those partners are pledging to help individuals, our members, comply with our code of professional practice, so they’re basically working with us to make their members better professional financial planners.”
Mr Marshan said the FPA’s policy submissions evidenced this, and that while some members and practices question the association, most are “comfortable” with the partnership program.
“I challenge any of our members to find, particularly compared to other associations and their submissions, that we’re conflicted in any way, that we’re biasing banks in any way, that we’re biasing large licensees in any way,” he said.
“In fact, I have strong conversations with a lot of those organisations about the submissions we make.”
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