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‘A never-ending cycle’: Mental health burdens of advisers revealed

An advice industry veteran has detailed the feelings of “capitulation and loss” experienced by many practitioners in recent months as dramatic regulatory and structural changes continue to impact on adviser mental health.

Former financial planner and Property Funds Management Australia founder Barry Daniels said a common theme in his conversations with advisers across the industry at present was frustration at being misunderstood and ignored as regulatory change continued at pace.

“Advisers [believe] that people outside the industry, especially regulators and politicians, have no appreciation of an adviser’s feelings of capitulation, loss, dismay and disbelief, but above all, that no one understands nor appreciates the role advisers play and service they provide,” Mr Daniels said.

“The vast majority of Australia’s advisers ... genuinely care for the wellbeing of clients. It’s both a privilege and a challenge to be across all their personal affairs, that has regrettably become another layer of stress in the lives of advisers dealing with mental illness.”

The comments follow ifa reporting earlier this year that indicated around 20 deaths had occurred in the industry in 2019 as a result of ill mental health among advisers, with AFA chief executive Phil Kewin commenting that increasing reports of suicide meant financial planning could have “one of the highest risk rates of any occupation in Australia”.

With the industry still in flux and further new regulations on the horizon, Mr Daniels said it was important for advisers to develop coping strategies to deal with what were likely to be further ups and downs in coming years.

“When articulating my life journey to advisers, it is in the context of a never-ending cycle whereby periods of war and lowest of emotional troughs are followed by times of calm and peace before they too give way to war once again. This makes developing a framework or strategy of coping skills even more challenging for the individual,” he said.


“In my case, the guiding light to recovery and wellbeing are contained in a daily rigid regime of journaling, meditation and exercise that are undertaken with a resolute military like commitment. I also have other strategies – therapies in reserve and in readiness should the current approach no longer be effective.”

If this story has raised any emotional or psychological issues for you, you can use the below resources:

Lifeline - 13 11 14/ www.lifeline.org.au

Suicide Call Back Service - 1300 659 467/ www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au 

Mens Line Australia - 1300 78 99 78/ www.mensline.org.au