The acting AFA chief executive has come out swinging in the defence of financial advisers.
Phil Anderson said advisers were dealt “unfair criticism” during Thursday’s Senate debate – where the government’s Your Future, Your Super and Self Managed legislations passed – by ALP Senator Jenny McAllister who said, “the people who will benefit most from these arrangements are financial advisers giving shonky advice – the kind of advice we’ve seen again and again and again, the kind of advice exposed in the Hayne Royal Commission”.
“The persistent, ongoing vilification of financial advisers, that we have seen year after year in the Federal Parliament, and in the media, is totally unjust and unreasonable. It borders on abuse and must stop,” Mr Anderson said.
“The vast majority of financial advisers always work in the best interests of their clients.
“The entire profession should not be judged based on what a very small minority have done in the past. Other professions are not judged because of what their worst do.”
Mr Anderson also slammed Ms McAllister’s comment about the Hayne royal commission, saying the hearings only looked at the conduct of 10 individual advisers.
“This is a tiny fraction of the adviser population,” he said.
“Importantly, the Royal Commission had access to information on misconduct from numerous different organisations over a 10-year period. It is hardly surprising that they revealed cases of serious misconduct during the hearings, however it is totally unreasonable and unfair to suggest in any way that this was widespread.
“It is important to note that complaints about financial advice make up only 1.4 per cent of complaints received by the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.”
The AFA said it believes the attacks on advisers in Parliament are an important factor as to why the number of advisers in Australia has fallen by 30 per cent since the Hayne royal commission.
Meanwhile a survey conducted in May by AIA Australia’s Australian Financial Advisers Wellbeing Report – which surveyed over 700 local advisers – found that 73 per cent are experiencing high levels of burnout from stress while 67 per cent experienced some level of depression.
A further 61 per cent of survey respondents reported trouble sleeping as a result of stress, while around a third of advisers who participated in the report said they were seeing a medical professional to manage their mental health issues.
“Financial advisers are humans, they have families and friends. They have emotions. For too long they have been forced to feel uncomfortable talking publicly about what they do. This is not right,” Mr Anderson said.
“No professional should be made to feel this way, and particularly not by elected members of their own Parliament.
“The time has come. Enough is enough. We call on all fair minded Australians to make this happen.”
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