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‘Perfect bipartisan storm’: AIOFP backs political engagement campaign

The AIOFP has thrown its support behind a letter writing campaign that can “educate clients and intimidate politicians” ahead of the upcoming federal election.

Last week, ifa revealed that advisers, collectively, are forwarding letters to their local MPs and senators, cautioning against the government’s mismanagement of advice legislation and regulation, with the correspondence believed to have been distributed to advisers by adviser networks for onward transmission to their parliamentary representatives.

The letter delineates “recent actions and proposed legislation” that, it asserts, contradict the government’s professed goals of enhancing the affordability and accessibility of financial advice, instead resulting in “significant cost increases for consumers and further restricting access to professional advice”.

These actions include the Compensation Scheme of Last Resort (CSLR) levy, to which the letter says, “Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones appears indifferent”.

In an email to members, which included a letter for both advisers and their clients, Association of Independently Owned Financial Professionals (AIOFP) executive director Peter Johnston said the association was “pleased and fully supported” its circulation to advice clients.

“We have been strongly advocating this strategy since 2019 leading into the 2022 federal election,” Johnston said.

“Our industry needs educated and engaged clients who understand that the unnecessary compliance imposts and unfair CSLR and ASIC levy costs will ultimately be passed onto them. Our industry also needs enraged advisers who are prepared to be politically active.”


Importantly, he noted that the AIOFP is not seeking to tell clients who to vote for, it is about “education and political intimidation”.

“Clients becoming educated on these facts will concern all politicians, the results we helped to achieve in 2022 with the seat of Kooyong and our success with the Education Pathway 10-year rule legislation should give encouragement to all that adviser-led advocacy can and does work if managed efficiently,” Johnston said.

“The AIOFP has the track record, experience, and professional advice support to be successful again.”

He added that while the association has sought legal advice on a number of options, including boycotting the CSLR, “a payment boycott will list you as an ATO debtor with the eventual cancellation/targeting of the AFSL by ASIC”.

“We have concluded that the only feasible political options to achieve effective outcomes is to educate clients, intimidate politicians leading into the next election, a political donation or two, and challenge 99FA in the courts,” Johnston said.

“Despite Canberra bureaucrats effectively running the country, they cannot directly create or amend legislation, only the politicians can do that.”

Noting that the opposition had recently stepped up its criticism of Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones and his handling of the portfolio, Johnston said it has created a “perfect bipartisan storm” that advisers can capitalise on.

“With an election now less than 12 months away, it is time for the advice community to consolidate and get politically active,” he added.

“The scourge of advisers getting unfairly blamed for product failure globally needs to be coordinated with our peers in USA, Europe and the United Kingdom to change mindsets amongst the regulators who often communicate. This will be a long-term strategy to achieve change, the AIOFP will play a key role with this process.”