The Finance Sector Union (FSU) has called for the current controversial move to professionalisation to be extended beyond just planners, but has warned that there are issues with both an industry-led professionalisation program and its regulation.
The Union’s call followed testimony by Westpac chief executive, Brian Hartzer, before the Royal Commission yesterday that the bank supported the introduction of a system of central registration for advisers.
“If there are arguments that can be made that professionalising financial advisers will improve the industry, those same arguments can be made for the industry at large,” FSU national secretary, Julia Angrisano, said.
“A process of professionalisation should not be limited to financial advisers. It should extend to other bank and finance sector workers, including lending specialists, mortgage brokers, business bankers and others.”
An industry-led professionalisation program, without regulated parameters and oversight, could fail to bring improvements to the industry and customer outcomes however, the FSU believed.
“In its submissions to the Royal Commission, Westpac said that oversight of conduct, qualifications and ongoing education obligations for financial advice should be the responsibility of a regulator. The Commission has demonstrated that the current arrangements do not work,” Angrisano said.
“It is important that the Commission engages with this issue. An important step in restoring trust and confidence in the sector is to improve the skills and education of finance sector workers.”
Reflecting other key issues raised by the Commission, the national secretary also said the imposition of professional obligations that existed outside employment relationships was “crucial” in dealing with the sector’s cultural problems.