FPA joins AFA in lambasting Choice anti-planner comments

14 April 2020

The Financial Planning Association (FPA) has joined with the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) in condemning a claim by consumer group Choice that Australians should consult a financial counsellor rather than a financial adviser about early access to superannuation.

FPA chief executive, Dante De Gori said the FPA was extremely disappointed by the statements made by choice policy and campaigns adviser, Patrick Veyret.

Dante De Gori refuted the statements and said Australians should consult whoever they had a trusted relationship with during this challenging time.

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“That could be a financial planner, a financial counsellor or another financial services professional. It is important that we are united as a community during this difficult period, particularly on a matter as significant as the early withdrawal of super for those experiencing hardship,” he said.

De Gori’s statement said the consumer groups who made these statements – Super Consumers Australia, Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia and Choice – were “doing a disservice to the community by spreading misinformation about financial planners. Australia is in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis and slanderous remarks are completely unnecessary and unhelpful”.

Mr Veyret was quoted in the same article stating: “It will only be in very rare circumstances that a financial adviser recommending early access of superannuation is doing so in your best interests.”

“The FPA completely rejects this assertion and requests Mr Veyret’s statement be retracted as he is in no position to decide what is in the best interest of a customer, nor can he make claims about client circumstances,” De Gori said.

“Financial planners must adhere to a best interest duty at all times. This is an important piece of legislation that separates financial planners from other financial services professionals and ensures they are always aligned to client outcomes.

“Financial planners play a critical role in the lives of their clients and have been overwhelmed with inquiries in recent weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks financial havoc on the lives of Australians.

“The FPA is confident that financial planners and financial counsellors can share duties supporting those who are in financial difficulty.




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If Choice wants to go down with the industry fund ship, let them. Exposing them as an ideologically driven organisation that doesn't understand financial services will be a silver lining from the corona virus.

Consumers SHOULD actually go to financial counsellors for early release advice, if they don't have an existing relationship with a licensed adviser. Not because they will get better advice, but because they will get free advice.

Chronic overregulation has made it too expensive for anyone who is not already financially comfortable to get good quality professional advice. Choice has been one of the main lobbyists for the current environment that makes professional advice unaffordable for most consumers. Choice doesn't actually care about the interests of consumers. It is an extremist political group, not a consumer association.

Agree totally. Well said. The whole system is in need of an overhaul.

I thought an obvious comment would be in the first instance, that clients ask for it rather it get recommended.

The FPA is very selective when it comes to standing up for advisers and Australians. Professionalism is not picking and choosing your battles based on who pays you or who does not pay you. Very quite on the AMP front, very quite on the CBA advice scandal, quite of the Royal Commission, quite on Dover, quite on independence, even quite on FASEA....yet now they have a voice.

The statement from FPA seems to overlook the fact that financial counsellors provide a free service, whereas financial planners and financial advisers do not. Financial counsellors are also connected with various other support services (mental health, emergency relief, domestic violence support) that might also assist people who are considering early access to their super.

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