‘Professional year’ could help ethics issue

Having a tertiary degree does not make financial advisers more ethical and a professional year could help solve this problem, advisers believe.

Certainty's founder, Jim Stackpool proposed a hands-on experience, similar to an accountant's professional year, as an alternative to the Treasurer's proposal for mandatory tertiary compliance degree for advisers.

Stackpool said in his blog this professional year could tackle the rapid changes in the industry — particularly the fast growing technology solutions transforming the industry.

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Responding to the blog, Paxton Bridge Financial adviser, David Murdoch said a lot of graduates were technically very good but struggled at first with their commercial sense.

"Saying you've got another degree doesn't make you a better adviser, and it won't make you more ethical," Murdoch said.

"That's where I think any accreditation should be far more practical. A curriculum could include disciplines such as ethics, project, client and strategic management."

Agreeing, Emerge Financial's director, Colin Benvenuto said a professional year could really dig deep into solving the issue of professionalism and ethics.

While The Wealth Designer's principal wealth adviser, Travis Martin, said he would struggle to hire someone who was not degree qualified, a degree would not solve the ethics problem.

"We also need to look at the way the industry is structured, which is around products. We need to realign client outcomes in terms of compliance. Not products. All this, including degrees and ethics, will contribute towards professionalising our industry," Martin said.

However, Bravium's managing director, Scott Farmer said "at the end of the day, the client engagement process is more important. It's the focus on getting results and being able to represent value that's important".

"That's not a training or a compliance issue, it's really a cultural issue in our industry."




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Comments

Having one professional year will not guarantee ethical behaviour. It would depend on who they spent that year with! You want to look at Ethics, look at workplace cultures and how people are rewarded for their work, does the company reward ethical behaviour? Does the companies vision statement include a part on Ethics? How important is Ethics to the managers and CEOs of the companies? All this will drive ethical behaviour, however it starts at the TOP not the bottom! There is no use training people on Ethics if their teflon managers tell them to throw that out the window and just get budget for the month!

It would be great if all politicians had a professional year in conjunction with a relevant Tertiary qualification...
Same goes for public servants!!!

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