Associations should look to merge as adviser exodus continues

Financial services associations will all have a new look in 2022 but is there a need for so many different ones?

It appears to be all change at financial advice professional bodies with a raft of new appointment and departures taking place in recent months.

The Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) is currently looking for a new chief executive as current CEO, Dante De Gori, announced in July that he would step down from the role by the end of this year.

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Meanwhile, the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) appointed its new CEO in Helen Morgan-Banda in July, who took over from Phil Anderson who had himself only been doing the role in an interim basis after the departure of Phil Kewin.

Then, at the end of last month, it appointed a new national president in Sam Perera, new vice president Michelle Veitch, and new treasurer, Samantha Robinson.

To round out association changes, at the end of October, Financial Services Council (FSC) CEO Sally Loane also announced she would be stepping down from the role by the end of 2021. The board was currently seeking a replacement for Loane, who had been CEO for seven years.

The question remains, however, whether there is a need for so many industry associations in the first place at a time when the cost of providing financial advice stretches into thousands of dollars.

It is no secret that advisers face high fees in the face of regulatory levies, compliance costs and exam fees so can they justify paying to be members of multiple organisations as well?

Not only this, but with more financial advisers leaving the industry each week and expectations of a continued exodus into next year, there may be insufficient advisers to warrant three different associations.

Over the last few years, there have been talks about a merger between the FPA and the AFA and, with the FPA’s CEO role vacant, there is scope for the two organisations to revisit this idea again.

Mergers and consolidation have been a focal point for the advice and superannuation industry and this can and should be extended to associations.


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It would be a nonsense to merge AFA and FPA. Their relative member bases are of totally different disciplines. May as well talk about merging the electricians association with the plumbers guild. It makes about as much sense as pure risk advisers having to do the same AFQ8 degree as full financial planners and investment advisers by 2025. Not to mention this irrelevant-to-risk-advisers FARCE-IA exam. Completely different disciplines and skill sets.

However, with the surrealism and idiocy surrounding absolutely everything over the last 5 years or so, including Covid, nothing would surprise me including AFA and FPA merging. For then we would know our industries (both risk and investment) are truly doomed. Probably wouldn't make much difference to the risk advisers as without any shadow of a doubt 90%++ of those will be gone by 2025. I'm a pure riskie of 35 years experience and I'm fortunate enough to be leaving with a graceful exit this month! Thank you for the article Jassmyn.

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