A number of FPA members have flagged potentially inappropriate relationships between the ‘professional association’ and the bureaucratic body established to regulate adviser education.
Speaking to ifa on condition of anonymity, a longstanding FPA member – claiming to be speaking on behalf of numerous concerned members – has voiced concerns about the association’s role in assisting the government to set professional standards and approve educational courses under the new regime.
The concerns surround the role played by the Financial Planning Education Council, a body that has designed a financial advice curriculum and list of approved degrees which Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer has indicated will be accepted as an appropriate standard by the government.
A statement on the FPA website says the association established FPEC as an “independent body” in 2011, but records held by government body IP Australia reveal that the FPA is listed as the “owner” of the FPEC trademark.
In addition, a public statement made by the FPA on 30 October 2017 said that “FASEA will accept the FPA’s gift of the FPEC curriculum and approved degrees list”, indicating control over the so-called independent body.
ifa understands that FPA chief executive Dante De Gori and head of academic relations Howard Cook both sit on the FPEC board and attend its meetings.
The FPA member questioned whether the association’s “gifting” of the FPEC curriculum is in the best interests of the broader membership.
“Why did the FPA recommend that FASEA adopt the FPEC approved degrees list when 99 per cent of its members don’t satisfy this narrow list?,” the member asked.
“[Doesn’t the] FPA have a duty of care to its members when they proposed that FASEA use the approved degree list that they control/own? FPA have caused 99 per cent of its members to not qualify with FASEA proposed requirements. Why would a professional body do that to its members?”
A separate FPA member, speaking to ifa on the same condition, asked whether Griffith University professor Mark Brimble may face a conflict of interest in his dual role as a FASEA board member and FPEC chair.
Former FPA chair Matthew Rowe also sits on the FASEA board and the standards authority's CEO Deen Sanders is a former FPA employee.
The comments follow those of fellow FPA member and Certified Financial Planner William Johns, who has publicly asked whether a number of FASEA board members, including Dr Brimble, face serious conflicts of interest.
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