InFocus: A shift away from the coalition

There were surprises at this year’s Federal election with the swing away from Liberals being higher than pollsters had expected and ‘teal’ independents usurping political stalwarts.

Josh Frydenberg had been Treasurer under the Morrison Government and had been tipped to be the next Liberal leader. However, he was beaten in his Kooyong electorate by independent candidate Monique Ryan. 

Many Money Management readers were jubilant at his departure, having undergone endless legislative changes under his tenure. They also criticised his role in the Royal Commission which caused extreme stress for advisers in the aftermath of the recommendations.

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Research by Forte Asset Solutions had found advisers felt their mental and physical health had significantly declined since the implementation of the Royal Commission changes and the financial adviser exam requirements. This had caused a widespread departure with the number of advisers falling to 17,000. 

The impact of Frydenberg was particularly highlighted by the Association of Independently Owned Financial Advisers in Australia (AIOFP) who said it was “poetic justice” he had lost his seat after his measures caused so many advisers to lose theirs. 

Chief executive, Peter Johnston, said: “In late 2014 when Frydenberg become our minister it was obvious he had an agenda to remove advisers from the landscape and was relentless. It is poetic justice he has now lost his job.”

He said around 300 advisers lived in Frydenberg’s electorate and were likely to have voted against him.

Meanwhile, Tim Wilson and Jason Falinski, who had both chaired the House of Representatives standing committee on economics, also lost their seats to female independent candidates.

Liberal’s Wilson had been making a push in recent months for people to use their superannuation for property, a policy announced by the Liberal party in the final days of the election campaign. However, this policy was widely criticised by the industry and public alike as it was feared it would push up property prices. 

The next step now will be for organisations to understand how they can work with the new Government led by Anthony Albanese and advocate for regulatory change on behalf of their members. There is hope that now the industry is a profession, regulation will take a ‘lighter touch’.

Many will have already worked closely with Stephen Jones, who was shadow minister for financial services, and with incoming Treasurer, Jim Chalmers. 

Chalmers had also previously sat on the House of Representatives standing committee on economics and was shadow minister for financial services and superannuation from October 2015-July 2016. 

This contrasted with Frydenberg who had a background in energy prior to becoming Treasurer. 

Measures that organisations hoped that Labor would focus on included the Quality of Advice review, accessibility of advice, compensation scheme of last resort (CSLR) and the industry funding model. 

Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) chief executive, Sarah Abood, said: “We are expecting the new Government to quickly deliver on its election commitment to provide much-needed certainty to the profession on education standards, including providing for a framework to better recognise relevant experience”.  

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