Advisers not utilising mental health services enough

Only 27 people have utilised the Financial Planning Association’s (FPA’s) Wellbeing service in 2020, while the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) have similarly reported low usage of their AFA Cares service.

The FPA released statistics on usage of its service which was available to members and FPA staff to Money Management, but the details within the individual sessions were private and anonymous.

During January, another three cases had been taken and Dante De Gori, FPA chief executive, said the service had not been utilised anywhere near to the extent that he thought it would.

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“That’s not to say that advisers aren’t turning to other programs, hopefully they are, my concern is that advisers aren’t utilising not only our program but aren’t utilising programs like that at all,” De Gori said.

Uptake was already low during 2019 and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic had done little to improve usage.

“We are completely aware of financial advisers being anxious and concerned about what’s happening – about how they’re going to transition their business, doing the exam, legislative changes,” De Gori said.

“The other area of anxiety is coming from the major licensees getting out of the game or forcing advisers out of their licence.

“That is an area I’m probably more concerned about because being forced out of your employment is not a good thing, but some people are struggling there.”

De Gori said compared to the FPA membership numbers, the number of people that had used the service was much lower than what they had originally expected.

“Predominately our membership base is male, so as a result of that men are less likely to utilise the service,” De Gori said.

“It’s a combination of things, male, the age group as well – older males are less likely to call up – and it’s relatively new.”

The AFA offered members access to AFA Care via a partnership with employee assistance program provider Benestar.

Phil Anderson, AFA general manager, policy and professionalism, said AFA Care offered free, 24/7 access to confidential support and coaching for members, their families and their employees.

“Whilst we have not seen a big uptake of the service, we believe it is essential for us to continue to provide it, particularly considering the very challenging circumstances facing the financial advice profession at this time,” Anderson said.

“We recognise that there is a level of reluctance to seek help, even when people are struggling, and this is why we continue to emphasise the important point that financial advisers need to keep an eye out for their friends and colleagues and to regularly check in and to offer support if there is any sign that it is needed.”

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Why is this a surprise? Firstly the FPA and AFA allowed this situation to get out of hand in the first place. Sorry we threw you to the wolves, but here's a mental health hotline. Secondly, in this day and age who wants to go on record as having used one of these service? Three, most of us are far to busy juggling everything being thrown at us to spend time talking to a counsellor with probably less life experience that we have. We are on our own, boys and girls.

Spot on as always Duke!

We said Duke.

We are used to battling through. And we're so angry about what our Licensees are doing to us. And feel frustrated and let down that not a single government body can do anything to help, not ASIC, not AFCA, no-one. Even politicians don't want to listen. The thought of going to a counseller and reliving all that pain while we're going through it would just tip us over the edge. It would be like a concentration camp detainee seeking counselling when all they want is to be set free! So we're continuing to fight, rather than seek counselling, hoping that someone, ANYONE, will finally wake up and help us!

Spot on Lost Faith. We have no friends and the last ting I want to do is talk about this situation. Ex-licensees are actively destroying lives out there. If this happened in any other group whether professional or otherwise it would make headlines. We only read about it in our industry publications.

I'm jaded enough to think that someone might write a report that says because the uptake is so low - this must mean that there isn't anything wrong.

Meanwhile my expenditure on red wine from my local wine merchant continues to increase.

ASIC can do that for you. :P

Now that is the truth!
Woolies record profit is being driven by the advisers visiting Uncle Daniel for some "mental health" juice.

What adviser has time to see a psychologist? We are all working 60 hours or more a week dealing with over the top compliance requirements from our AFSLs to protect their arses! Occasionally we get to speak with our clients.
The sooner the AFSL regime is dismantled, the better.

If you don't like your AFSL's over the top compliance, why not self licence?

Dealer group compliance is designed to protect themselves from the worst 10% of advisers, who could never qualify for their own licence. Everyone else in the dealer group is being unnecessarily constricted, and paying far too much for the privilege.

Working on it, Anon.

Everyone especially the FPA and AFA have missed the real reasons. Advisers are worried that if a AFSL holder got hold of the fact that they are seeking help, that the AFSL could force them out and that if may affect any income protection claim they may have which they don't want to take either for fear of losing their business. More so if they are with AMP who are still professional partner with the FPA. All comments above are true as well.

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