The actions of the Federal Government ensured that the Financial Planning Association (FPA) missed out on the opportunity to be part of a code monitoring body. Now it has put in place a policy objective – planner registration – which it appears to hope will deliver it the next best thing.
The FPA’s plans for forming a code-monitoring body will still-born when the Government opted to follow the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services by established a single disciplinary body.
In doing so, the Government denied the FPA and other adviser bodies the opportunity to have advisers compulsorily sign up to be part of a code-monitoring regime. Now, the FPA wants to achieve something similar via the establishment of an adviser register with the likelihood being that it would be run by the FPA.
Importantly, however, the FPA wants this register to override the existing Australian Financial Services License (AFSL) regime to the extent that advisers would be licensed to practice because they are on the register, rather than because they hold a license or are authorised representatives of a licensee such as a dealer group.
As FPA chief executive, Dante De Gori said in outlining the FPA’s objective – his organisation “sees responsibility for registration resting with the individual financial planner and not their employer or licensee”.
“The registration of financial planners must include verification that they have complied with the professional standards for financial planners set by the Financial Advisers Standards and Ethics Authority [FASEA], including passing the professional exam, meeting the education standard and ongoing compliance with the ethical standards,” he said.
“This information should be provided by the individual financial planner and verified as correct by the single disciplinary body,” De Gori said. “In this manner, the register will become an authoritative source of information on each financial planner, including their qualifications, compliance with professional standards and disciplinary record.
“By placing responsibility for registering on individual financial planners, the register will promote portability of qualifications between businesses and licensees, and promote financial planners taking responsibility for their qualifications and compliance with professional standards.”
Left unspoken by De Gori was the degree to which the FPA’s membership numbers and consequently its coffers would be enhanced if the organisation was given carriage of maintaining that register.
Little wonder, then, that a number of influential financial planning licensees have taken issue with the FPA’s objective of having adviser registration override the traditional relationship between advisers and their AFSLs.