An AFA delegation returned from the national capital this week, after visiting independent Members of Parliament, Tony Crook, Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor and Andrew Wilkie, as well as the Greens, the Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Bill Shorten’s key adviser and Treasury.
“We had great access to politicians and are very pleased to report that they have met with many of their local constituent advisers often,” Mr Klipin said. “This tells us that our grass roots campaign to move the policy debate to political engagement is working.”
Mr Klipin said it is very encouraging that the politicians the AFA visited had heard and understood the very real concerns advisers have about the profound and potentially damaging effect some aspects of the FOFA reform will, if carried forward into legislation, have on advisers, their businesses and the clients they serve.
“The message we took to Canberra was that the AFA is actually really supportive of the intent of FOFA – everybody, including financial advisers, would like to see legislation that results in better outcomes for consumers and better access to advice,” he said. “We would love to publicly support the legislation when it comes out in draft form, but we can’t support components which we believe are clearly not in the national interest.”
The AFA has consistently argued that some aspects of the FOFA reform package announced by the Government in April will impose higher costs on consumers, impede their access to advice, tie them up in red tape and create even greater confusion.
Mr Klipin reiterated that while the AFA believes the original intent of FOFA was commendable, the execution is not. “As they currently stand, the FOFA reforms mean even fewer people will have access to affordable advice which could ultimately mean fewer will have adequate levels of insurance and fewer will have enough in retirement savings. The impact of that is crystal clear – more people lining up for Centrelink benefits.”
Mr Klipin quoted from the AFA’s Back to Basics research which identified that while only two in 10 Australians currently get advice, good advice gives people choices and leads to higher levels of savings, more appropriate levels of insurance and greater control of their future.
Mr Klipin also said that while the AFA’s grass roots campaign is gaining traction, now is not the time for complacency.
“In fact, advisers should be upping the ante,” he said. “Our endeavours to have some of the FOFA proposals amended so that we actually see an improvement in outcomes for advisers and their clients have only just begun. We encourage all advisers who have not yet visited their Member of Parliament to make an appointment today.”
The Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Bill Shorten will address 400 AFA members at the AFA lunch on Monday 27 June.
“If you have questions you want to put to the Minister, Monday is your opportunity,” Mr Klipin said.