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.
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.