‘Their future has been taken’

Advisers are dealing with “heightened levels of anxiety and stress” as mountains of regulation weigh on their lives and livelihoods, according to the leaders of two professional associations.

Phil Kewin, chief executive of the Association of Financial Advisers, said that advisers are suffering under the weight of regulatory reform and feel as though they are no longer in control of their lives.

“I’ve never, in 30-plus years, experienced the heightened level of stress that I’ve seen amongst the financial adviser community,” Mr Kewin told the standing committee on economics.

“A lot of it is because their future has been taken and control has been taken out of their hands.

“A lot of small business operators want to control their own future and they feel at the moment they’re not sure that they actually can control their own future.”

In 2019, ifa reported that 16 financial advisers had taken their lives due to the psychological toll of issues stemming from the massive reforms that the industry was undergoing. Mr Kewin is only aware of one member of the AFA that has taken their life, but said “that’s one too many”.

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“That’s a very personal and complicated issue,” Mr Kewin said. “There are many factors that come into that, but certainly in terms of the financial adviser community there’s a heightened state of anxiety. Our counselling services are there – they’re not utilised enough, which is unfortunate, but we are concerned about many people’s future.”

FPA CEO Dante De Gori echoed the point, saying that levels of anxiety and concern had “definitely escalated”.

“It’s been a combination of factors from both legislation and environment that have caused that and there are indeed definitely members and financial planners out there who are struggling and have taken action in terms of leaving the profession, to take time off from the profession, to seek professional help,” Mr De Gori said.

“And we have heard of situations in which people have really needed crisis support, in respect to mental health.”

Both associations have member help lines that points advisers towards professionally trained counsellors and psychologists. If this story has raised any emotional or psychological issues for you, you can utilise the below resources:

Lifeline, 13 11 14, www.lifeline.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service, 1300 659 467, www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au
MensLine Australia, 1300 78 99 78, www.mensline.org.au

‘Their future has been taken’
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