FPA advocacy too ‘politically correct’, says firm CEO

EXCLUSIVE The Financial Planning Association of Australia has taken an advocacy approach that is too weak and “politically correct” in an environment where strength and leadership is needed, according to a practice head running to be on its board.

Speaking exclusively to ifa, the founder and chief executive of Health & Finance Integrated, William Johns, said strong leadership is needed in the FPA as it has a huge role to play in the direction of the profession.

“It is always easy to criticise someone from afar, so I decided to get in there and be the professional advocate the board seems to desperately need,” Mr Johns told ifa.

Throughout his lobbying efforts, Mr Johns noted concerns from many of the advisers he’d been in touch with that the FPA had been too gentle in its advocacy, rather than “taking the gloves off” and fighting for the rights and livelihoods of the FPA members and the industry at-large

“I hope there are not too many advisers feeling disenfranchised, but I can tell you there are many people contacting me saying they are ‘ex-members’ because they felt they are not getting value and/or felt disconnected or their voices not heard,” he said.

“I am a born fighter. I have my principles and my beliefs as someone fighting for people at risk of being marginalised daily, such as people with disabilities, as well as a strong human rights advocate.

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“I am going in there to push hard for a better, more human-centred FPA. I want that to be felt within the advisory community and also the Australian community at-large.”

Should he win election to the FPA board, Mr Johns said key items on his agenda would include:

  • Working with FASEA and ASIC on the ways vulnerable advisers can meet their accreditation requirements;
  • Reaching out to members at risk of losing their jobs, or those experiencing mental anguish and working with them to have better prospects;
  • Considering new FPA programs aimed at risk management of things such as technology disruption, complex business practices, government-imposed revenue disruption and other risks such as legal exposure when advising older clients with questionable cognition;
  • Holding executives accountable for their performance against set policy advocacy targets and adviser/consumer perceptions;
  • Establishing a community outreach program fully funded by the FPA to provide advice to struggling farmers and those in isolated communities to be delivered in collaboration with other professionals such as legal and financial counsellors;
  • Keeping the checks and balances by mounting legal challenges as and when required at the request of a predetermined number of members; and
  • The establishment of groups similar to XY Adviser for FPA members, and for directors to be involved in the debates transparently and actively listen as elected representatives.

Voting for board directors closes today. The FPA will reveal the election results on 30 October, with the elected directors to be appointed at the annual general meeting on 27 November.

FPA advocacy too ‘politically correct’, says firm CEO
William Johns
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Adrian Flores

Adrian Flores

Adrian Flores is a features editor at Momentum Media, focusing mainly on banking, wealth management and financial services. He has also written for Public Accountant, Accountants Daily and The CEO Magazine.

You can contact him on [email protected].

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