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.
“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.