Advisers should take advantage of regulatory absence in 2022

With no major regulatory changes coming through over the next 12 to 18 months, the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) is encouraging advisers to focus on their business.

FPA head of policy, strategy, and innovation, Ben Marshan, said 2022 was a year of opportunity for advisers given the lack of regulatory change.

He said financial planners over the last few years had been dealing with being compliant and implementing new processes and did not have the time to figure out where the inefficiencies were and where they could take advantage of technology in their advice process.

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“There's an opportunity to sit there and do nothing as a financial planner this year, and there's an opportunity to work on your business and make your business really strong and make improvements this year,” Marshan said.

“So everything that's been frustrating planners – 80-page statements of advice, 100-page fact finds, fee disclosure statements, renewal notices, product application forms, ID verifications – there are opportunities to improve all of those. But you have to spend the time figuring out what you want your process to look like and then start building it.”

Marshan noted that the last few years had been so painful and difficult that many planners were in the headspace that that would continue.

“My role is to be looking at three to five years in the future as that's what I talk to government regulators about and I can see what's coming,” he said.

“It's a year to get our houses in order. You can take a little bit of time and just catch a breath and get back on an even keel. Because there is still a lot of stress, anxiety, depression, and worry out there at the moment which is totally understandable.

“The next phase will be regulatory efficiency rather than regulatory burden. Our message to is that things are looking good for the future. It's about as bad as it's ever going to be at this point in time, and things are going to improve from here. The future of the profession is looking incredibly bright. Now that we've gotten to this point – good things are ahead.”

Marshan noted the FPA this year would be providing planners with new ideas on how to deliver advice to clients such as how to document your advice or not to document advice. It would also look to launch tools to make the fee disclosure statement opt in process more efficient, and it was working with the Financial Services Council on making ID verification and product fee consent simpler.

“If you've made it to here and you've survived, you can look at the fact that the message coming from government is ‘We trust you more, we think you're doing a great job, and you're behaving professionally’, the message coming from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Financial Complaints Authority is the same,” he said.

“Consumer trust surveys are starting to get really positive as well. Look for support from people who are doing well and follow their lead. There are some great examples out there of successful advice businesses that are doing anything particularly novel or special, they've just put it together in a good way and it's not hard to replicate.”

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It's a trap!
Just when we start to get comfortable we'll end u getting punched in the nuts again!

I might just have a rest thanks

That's interesting you make that comment - "80-page statements of advice, 100-page fact finds, fee disclosure statements, renewal notices, product application forms, ID verifications", what you don't realise Mr Marshan because you are not a Financial Planner operating everyday, is we still have to do all these documents, we still have to make sure we are not $1 out on our consent forms, EFDS, SOA, ROA, OASA, BID, Corps Act, File Notes.....just to name a few....Oh and plus we have to do a Degree!! This may not apply to all Financial Planners, but maybe about 5000 might have to do some degree courses this year or find a new career. The rest will be too busy planning their exit in the next 2 years. How can this be a "good consumer outcome"? Forward thinking obviously didn't look at how many Advisers will be here, affordability of advice and the cost of delivering it.. Well , we should have been aware, because we watched it happen 3-5 years ago in the UK!

Interesting you also say that you are "looking at 3-5 years in the future".....well what exactly were you doing 3-5 years ago?? Did you not talk to Government about the prospect of 50% of Planners leaving the Industry because of onerous education standards, 50% reduction in Insurance revenue and a staggering increase in regulations and red tape and the constant changes that you have apparently been looking at and talking to Government about? May I ask what you were doing 3-5 years ago? Unfortunately I actually know. Sadly, it is easy to come "after the fact" and say, hey everyone, take it easy for a year, have a break, work on your business...but you forget that the regulation hasn't stopped, the changes haven't stopped, they are in place and we still have to deal with them.

And you cannot come and say now, hey we understand, as 3-5 years ago you were so close with the Government pushing to make sure you made all Advisers have a Degree, Pass an Exam and deal with years and years of unrelenting red tape, and you have let Product Manufacturers get away with over-charging, you see, you couldn't see the reality unfolding because you were focused on your relationship with the Government and trying to be the "Go To Organisation for regulation and compliance", what you failed to do was look after Financial Planners and in doing so you have failed consumers.

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