Many ethical, well-qualified financial advisers risk becoming collateral damage in the after-effects of the Royal Commission if people continue to make ill-informed claims about the industry, according to Financial Planning Association (FPA) chief executive, Dante De Gori.
Responding to an Industry Super Australia (ISA) submission to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee which claimed that conflicted financial advice remained an egregious problem meaning that advisers could not always be trusted to deliver advice on post-retirement products, De Gori described such claims as “irresponsible at best, and libellous at worst”.
“The hard truth is that many ethical, well-qualified financial advisers risk becoming collateral damage in the after-effects of the Royal Commission into Banking and Financial Services if such ill-informed claims are left unchallenged,” he said.
“I believe painting all financial advisers with the same dirty brush used to expose malpractice and unethical behaviour by some individuals and institutions is to the detriment of many truly good people, professionals, and our nation’s health and wellbeing.”
“So, on behalf of the 14,000+ professional financial advisers who work tirelessly and ethically as FPA members to fulfil their statutory obligation to act in their client’s best interests every day -- I say to my industry peers, and media, this is not the time for fear-mongering,” De Gori said. “Consumers need to know who they can trust with their money. Unless you’re recommending we all stash our money under a mattress for a rainy day, it’s deeply irresponsible to scare anyone away from considering a qualified financial adviser in these unstable economic times.”
The FPA chief executive said the Royal Commission had revealed an underbelly of malpractice and toxic corporate culture with often unconscionable disregard for human impact.
“We all heard how some people lost their homes, livelihoods, and retirement dreams due to some unethical advisers and outdated institutional practices,” he said. “My use of the adjective ‘some’ is intentional, and worth noting by ISA and anyone else who risks tarnishing an entire profession based on the abhorrent actions of some.”
“There’s an army of ethical, professional, good financial advisers out there ready and equipped to provide informed advice in their clients’ best interests. Not ‘some’, not even ‘many’, but ‘most’ financial advisers are qualified and ready to help people achieve their clients’ money and life goals.”
De Gori has called on ISA to withdraw and correct the claim “that it should not be assumed that financial advisers can be trusted”.