Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 - The Association of Financial Advisers: AFA
The current global financial jitters highlight the value of financial advice and underscore why opt-in is such poor policy, according to the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA).

“Advisers’ phones have been ringing off the hook over the past week with concerned clients asking what the current crisis means for them,” said AFA President, Brad Fox. “We see it as our role to guide them through these difficult times. When everyone around the world is losing their heads, the role of advisers is critical. They are the guides and coaches providing a steady hand, a cool head and wise counsel that keeps clients on their financial journey – despite the turmoil in markets.”

Mr Fox called on the industry for calm and to focus on clients and the fundamentals.

“This is when we make sure that clients stick to their game plan,” he said, “Despite an understandable tendency for them to want to drop the ball and run.”

AFA CEO, Richard Klipin, said global market jitters also serve to illustrate why opt-in is poor policy and a disaster for consumers.

“In a world where opt-in exists, consumers will be left out in the cold at time like these,” Mr Klipin said. “They will be calling 1300 call centres, answered by inexperienced call centre operators who have not had the training, experience or education to cope with market crises or the ability to offer advice on complicated matters.”

Mr Klipin said that when the world is in panic, people want experienced advisers, who have the experience and training to help them through.

“When you have a health crisis you want a specialist who has seen problems like yours many times before; a specialist who has had many success stories; someone who gives you the best chance of recovering well,” Mr Klipin said. “The same is true when you face a financial crisis – you want a professional, experienced financial adviser; someone with the experience and knowledge to guide you through, so that you come out of it as well as possible.”

Mr Klipin said the antidote to opt-in was to strengthen opt out – in financial services guides, statements of advice, annual statements and correspondence with clients.

“Clients should have the option to opt out if they no longer want to receive the services of a financial adviser,” he said. “Just as they have the option to opt out of the services provided by the likes of CHOICE, unions and all sensible membership organisations.”

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The Association of Financial Advisers: AFA

The Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) is the longest running professional financial adviser organisation in Australia and its members have been providing trusted advice to consumers for 65 years. The AFA celebrates its diamond anniversary this year. Through individual memberships and relationships with licensees, the AFA represents over 7,000 members. These members offer a broad range of financial advice services to ordinary Australians with many having specific expertise in risk protection. The AFA aims to provide a robust united voice for all financial advisers and their clients, continually improve practices and to focus firmly on the exciting, dynamic future of the financial advice profession. With six and a half decades’ success, the Association's ongoing relevance is due to its philosophy of providing leadership and direction to advisers and their clients. It is an association run by advisers for advisers - this means advisers set the agenda, decide which issues to tackle and shape the organisation's strategic plan.
Richard Klipin
P: 0412127834
W: www.afa.asn.au

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Julie Bennett, 64 Media
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financial markets; FOFA; opt-in; financial advisers



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