Efforts by the Commonwealth Bank, AMP and NAB/MLC to lift planners' educational and ethical standards have been lauded by the Financial Planning Association (FPA) as evidence its drive towards industry professionalism is coming to fruition.
Within the last fortnight, the three largest employers of financial planners have committed to lifting the educational bar, with a planning degree benchmark among the minimum standards applied by the organisations.
The FPA's CEO, Mark Rantall, said the move signaled a shift towards self-regulation.
"Recent announcements by large financial planning businesses to increase education levels reflect a major change for the profession and for its clients," he said.
"We want Australians to feel empowered and realise the benefits of trusted financial advice. This is why it is important for them to know that their financial planner is a member of a professional association, and is appropriately qualified."
He said the next step towards industry professionalism would be a fully-transparent planner register.
"We strongly support a financial planner register and see this move as critical to being a transparent and trusted profession, alongside the requirement that financial planners operate as a member of a professional association under an Australian Securities and Investments Commisssion and the Tax Practitioners approved code."