It is grossly unfair for the media and others to lump all financial planners into the same boat as the few who have been found to be corrupt or inadequate.
That is the bottom line message of the principal of Tasmanian financial planning and accounting firm, Collins SBA, Jonathan Elliot who has written to the ABC complaining over a recent news headline which suggested financial planners were incapable of self-regulation and asked whether the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) might make a difference.
In his letter, Elliot has taken issue with the ABC’s headline and approach.
“To group all financial planners into one dirty boat is grossly unfair and causes significant emotional distress to the thousands of financial planners, like myself, who only ever strive to recommend what is best for each individual client. To be frank, I am deeply offended and your indiscriminate kick to each and every financial planner hurts,” the letter said.
“The poor culture and KPI-driven misconduct, as featured in the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, largely occurred within major financial institutions and yet few corporate executives or even the regulator have been held accountable,” he said.
Elliot said that while he and his business supported the drive by the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) towards more professionalism, the reality was that the industry was becoming overburdened with regulation and consequent cost.
“I support the financial advice framework being strengthened, and I also concur with the FPA and AFA that parts of the code are indeed unworkable and that the current framework is excessively complex,” he said noting that the Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology had acknowledged that “financial planners are tied up in knots with rules and regulations”.
“Sadly, my business has disengaged numerous clients as a direct result of the additional compliance that has made providing service to some client segments unviable,” Elliot’s letter said.
It said that Senator Hume’s government was responsible for implementing FASEA, “creating further rules to tie us up in knots with and despite the opaque process, overreach (conflicting with Corps Law) and Board members themselves being conflicted”.
The letter said that, despite this, the ABC had seen fit to report what Elliott regarded as a self-serving and baseless assertion by FASEA chief executive, Stephen Glenfield, that “large swathes of that membership (FPA and AFA) will be in agreement with what we are doing”.