AIOFP refutes calls for unity in Canberra

An advice industry body has refuted suggestions that the financial planning sector needs a single lobbying voice in Canberra, arguing that the FPA and AFA only represent “an institutional view” to parliamentarians.

In a communication sent to federal parliamentarians on Monday, AIOFP executive director Peter Johnston addressed the “constant criticism” that “our advice industry is divided and needs to be united to have any credibility in Canberra”.

“We agree with that general notion in the past but things have changed,” Mr Johnston said, saying the major institutions had adopted more influence in the biggest two adviser associations as institutionally aligned advisers grew to represent 80 per cent of the industry in the 1990s.

“The result? The advice industry has been ‘divided and ruled’ by the institutional lobby where the ‘independents’ were continually trying to differentiate themselves from the institutionally aligned adviser agenda,” Mr Johnston said. 

“This political quandary was then capitalised upon by the institutional lobby in Canberra to favour their aligned associations’ agenda and pass the independent advisers off as ‘rabble’.”

Mr Johnston said politicians would be better off consulting groups such as the SMSF Association or Stockbrokers and Advisers Association as well as the AIOFP if they wanted “an adviser perspective” on regulatory change, while the ABA, FSC, FPA and AFA constituted “the institutional view”.

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Mr Johnston made the remarks as part of a new awareness campaign to provide parliamentarians with regular information about issues in the advice industry, following a recent Zoom call with a number of prominent politicians to bring them up to speed with the industry response to recent regulatory change.

He said the association had been informed by one of the politicians it had consulted as part of this increased engagement that lobbying efforts conducted by other advice industry bodies over the past decade had been restricted to “a select few” MPs and senators.  

But despite the AIOFP’s views on joining with the larger industry associations, Mr Johnston said in a separate communication to members that the industry body had welcomed FSU assistant secretary Nathan Rees’ moves to gain endorsement from all associations for a letter provided to both sides of Parliament advocating the swift passage of the FASEA extension bill.

Mr Johnston said other advice industry bodies such as the SMSFA and PIFA had also agreed to endorse the letter, which was “no longer needed” after the government agreed to extend a ban on LIC commissions last week, but that the AFA and FPA had not.

AIOFP refutes calls for unity in Canberra
Peter Johnston
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