The announcement of a significant restructure within the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and consequent job losses has reawakened calls for a merger between the FPA and the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA).
In the wake of the calling of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry both the AFA and the FPA have been working more closely together on generating a single voice policy approach but, as yet, there has been no move towards formal merger talks.
However, this has not stopped discussion of the issue, with former FPA chairman and chief executive of financial planning group, CountPlus, Matthew Rowe suggesting that a merger might be in the ultimate best interests of the industry.
“It is great to see the FPA and AFA beginning to work closely together on some key issues. I think the forecast drop in financial adviser numbers to circa 15,000 will mean it is only a matter of time before we have a single Association representing our professional community,” he said.
AFA chief executive, Phil Kewin acknowledged the degree to which both the FPA and the AFA had been working more closely together and their shared challenges in terms of decreasing adviser numbers which would inevitably impact on membership of the two organisations.
However, he made clear that there had been no formal discussion around mergers – something which would need to happen at board level.
Recent data published by Money Management has confirmed the high level of adviser exits from the industry in the face of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) regime and other factors, with some calculations suggesting it might take the industry up to a decade to grow adviser numbers back to pre-2018 levels.
Importantly, the FPA’s announcement around a significant restructure coincides with the organisation’s member renewal cycle, albeit that it is understood that planning around the changes began late last year.
There have been a number of informal discussions around the possibility of a merger between the FPA and the AFA over the past two decades, but little has developed with some suggesting this reflected the different nature of the membership of both organisations with the AFA being more representative of life/risk advisers.