The national opportunity that is financial planning

The demand for financial advice is strong. With 41% of Australians intending to get advice in the future, it is now up to the industry, regulators and government to build a profession that can meet their needs. 

The financial planning profession is currently at the crossroads of what could be the most defining moment in its history. Increased compliance requirements, higher education standards, rapid change in market dynamics as the major banks leave the sector and the increased cost of doing business are all challenges facing the sector. 

But there are also significant opportunities; a chance for the profession to grow and unite towards a stronger foundation that the next generation of planners can build on.

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Financial planning attracts a diverse group of people. Most are highly experienced, educated and ethical professionals. Others are still on a path to meeting their career goals and professional development milestones. The Financial Planning Association (FPA) is committed to supporting all financial planners throughout their career to provide the best quality advice to their clients.

Each individual financial planner may offer different skills and services or target a certain niche market. But as a profession we all share a common purpose: the financial wellbeing of our clients and the availability of advice for more Australians. 

From a long-term perspective, more stringent educational and ethical standards can only be a good thing for clients, who rely on quality financial planning to make some of the most important decisions of their lives.


Those who argue that the rising cost of financial advice will cripple the industry, though not disputing this possibility also fail to recognise the work currently underway to ensure financial planning is a viable option for all Australians. 

New innovations and technologies are rapidly being adopted at a practice level by financial planners across Australia to streamline efficiencies within their businesses and reduce compliance costs. 

Meanwhile, many superannuation funds now offer advice to their members and are integrating digital-advice offerings along with intra-fund to help Australians who may not be able to afford full-scale financial planning. 

It is important to recognise the depth and breadth of the advice profession, one where industry participants offer different levels of service depending on the needs of their clients. A full-scale financial plan may not be affordable for some, but there are other options available and lower cost is not synonymous with poorer quality – this has been widely misunderstood by many commentators, to the detriment of the unadvised majority of Australians. 

Many FPA members are taking innovative approaches to tacking the affordability of advice including introducing subscription-based fees for service and helping younger generations with their savings and household budgets. 

These efforts and the collective willingness to work towards a solution should be commended, not criticised, as it is having a positive impact on the lives of Australians as they navigate the complexities of managing work, life and their personal finances. 


While we recognise that financial planners are doing their best to cope with rising regulatory and compliance costs, the FPA is also doing its part through ongoing and extensive engagement with government and regulators. 

The bottom line is that the goal of making financial planning more affordable and accessible, which was a promised objective of  the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA), for those in need has not been met. 

In a 2019 survey by Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC): Financial advice: what consumers really think, found while 41% of Australians intend to get financial advice in the near future, many will not proceed because of perceived barriers including cost (35%) and the need for a relatively simple financial plan (29%).

Our members are telling us that the cost of providing advice has never been as high as it is today. Costs could increase further as financial planners adjust to increased surveillance and enforcement activities ASIC is undertaking following the Financial Services Royal Commission.

Our most recent member survey shows the major challenge for planners over the next three years will be the cost of regulation, with almost half (48.3%) of FPA members agreeing on this, up from 33.5% in 2018. 

In 2019, 41.4% of our members said reducing the cost of providing advice would be a major challenge, up significantly from 25.3% in 2018. 

On average, FPA members charge $2,671 to prepare a Statement of Advice (SOA) for new clients, up almost 10% from $2,435 in 2018. 

We believe the current framework needs to be re-examined to ensure financial planners can continue to meet compliance requirements while also meeting the growing demand for financial advice from consumers. It would be a sad day if Australians were regulated out of their chance to receive quality advice. 

Ongoing engagement with government and regulators is therefore critical and a key priority for the FPA in 2020.


Given the increased compliance requirements financial planners are now facing, the FPA has also been examining how we can facilitate a more sustainable compliance regime for our members. 

This won’t involve removing or reducing consumer protection, but it does mean looking for ways to make the system more efficient, effective and streamlined for the consumer and for the businesses that provide advice. We believe technology will play a central role here. 

A key project we are currently focusing on is the Future of the Statement of Advice, which involves digitising statements of advice (SOAs) and the financial advice process. This will not only make the provision of financial advice more affordable but will also bring the profession into the 21st century. Today’s clients do not want to be handed a 100-page SOA to read and sign and put in their bottom drawer to never read again - they want financial advice to be integrated into their life. 

We have already launched an interactive guide to the new digitised SOA and have been working with several fintech providers who are helping financial planners to transition from the old processes they were using and integrate the new SOAs into their businesses. Financial planners are at different stages in terms of their willingness to switch to the new model, but we are encouraging all our members to do this sooner rather than later.


Looking forward, I think it is fair to say that all financial planners have or will be reviewing their business models and adjust accordingly with respect to what it costs to run a business. Many financial planners are small business operators and need to ensure they have the clientele that is right for their business. 

While some financial planners serve the high net worth end of the market, there are still many who cater for the average Australian citizen. In addition, we are already seeing more financial planners specialise in certain areas, from financial coaching (budgeting and cashflow management) to superannuation and aged care. We are encouraging all financial planners to consider their point of difference in the market, so as a profession we can provide solutions to meet a broader range of client needs.


Overall, I am optimistic about the future of the financial planning profession. We know demand is increasing and, with financial planner numbers currently declining, we arguably do not have enough financial planners to meet that demand. 

We will start to see more financial planners enter the profession via the university system and the opportunities for new entrants is huge. For anyone looking for a great career opportunity, I would highly recommend our profession as the job prospects are outstanding going forward. With the reforms that are still taking place and changes in technology, the profession is being set up for a very bright future. 

Dante De Gori is chief executive of the Financial Planning Association.

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Things the FPA have achieved?...... Can someone tell me? All I see are higher costs, more regulations, an no political party takes on anything they say. I don't think there any any new entrants into the industry either.

I believe Dante received a pay rise? Not sure why - I should write to the FPA and ask him. What would be the response?

I've been a member for over 20 years, this is the 2nd time I'm close to becoming a non member. I just don't see the value or the necessity and where margins are being squeezed. I think they lost me when they went from being adviser advocate, to consumer/adviser advocate. I get why, but the focus should have always been the adviser. Hence we have not won any political battles that needed winning.

"Meanwhile, many superannuation funds now offer advice to their members and are integrating digital-advice offerings along with intra-fund to help Australians who may not be able to afford full-scale financial planning. "

"The Financial Planning Association (FPA) is committed to supporting all financial planners throughout their career to provide the best quality advice to their clients."

OK, so the FPA support Intra Fund Advice - advice provided by the product manufacturer. Please explain to me why FASEA Standard 3 exists for Privately owned or self employed Financial Planner but it is perfectly acceptable for an employee of the product provider to provide "advice" to a member all the while being paid for via a fee charged to members (many who will never use this "Service" or "Advice" - but it's not Advice?), the members can't opt out of it, it is not "fee for no service" and from what I read, is not required to be in the "Best Interest of the client" and could not even satisfy these requirements as there is no requirement to consider any alternative products - just recommend the in house product and all is sweet. And the FPA somehow believes this is OK. Really, where are all those people and lobby groups who said if the client values the service they can pay for the service when the service is delivered? Where are they? Perhaps working for Product Providers (and it seems the FPA).

ASIC is corrupt

The heading should say National Disgrace not National Opportunity.
20 years as a FPA CFP member will finish in June. I refuse to pay funds to an organisation that has achieved almost nothing. This industry is doomed with the current rules and regulations, as are the FPA.

Why are you waiting until June? Why not resign right now? Just because you have paid yearly fees until June, that's no reason to stay if you truly believe you're getting nothing useful for those fees.

I get the impression the people who constantly talk about leaving the FPA, but never do, are mostly grandfathered CFPs. They whinge and moan incessantly, but still renew every year to retain a professional designation they know they never should have received. They deride the CFP as being worthless, but just can't let it go.

Having been a paying practitioner of the FPA for 20 years you could assume l am not that smart but l am smart enough to know that l legally have to belong to one of the designated associations so l qualify for the TPB (another fee scam) exemption. Why would l resign now and double pay the fees till 30 June 20 with another useless association? That is why the big exodus from the FPA will happen on July 1. Seeing as all these associations do nothing the cheapest option will be an easy choice for the next 10 years until l retire.

When reading through their latest submission to Treasury, the FPA simply supports the intra-fund product pushing racket & Union Super funds, that is all. No self-respecting adviser will put up with this takeover. Watch for the membership exodus that will inevitably come in July 2020.

Dante and youforgot to mention they "All Lived Happily ever after " Mate you do not deserve to be in that position living in the land of Fairytales
I left the AFA years ago when you and them sold us out to the fsc/banks for your membership guarantees, and here we are you telling us the FP profession is on the rise , how many new FPs have done the fasea exam I can tell you it is less than 50 for the 5,000 planners that have left the industry

The FPA is probably the most unsuccessful professional lobbyist association in Australian history...whats the point of membership!!!

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