Where are the regulators?

Are regulators and financial services associations on top of the issues surrounding gearing?

That is the question consultant Paul Resnik is asking after analysing the response to the upcoming Gearing & Investing conference which kicks off in Sydney next week.

Resnik says representatives from regulators and associations are absent from the list of 200 confirmed attendees at the two day conference. He says the overwhelming majority of those who have signed up to the conference are financial planners.

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"Planners obviously see the value of getting up to date on the issues surrounding the fastest growing part of the financial services industry," he says.

Resnik says the absence of industry regulators is particularly surprising given the unregulated nature of margin lending and home equity finance.

The conference is Resnik Consulting's second foray into the financail planning conference business - the first being a syndicated property conference earlier this year and a third on ethical investing planned for later next month. The group moved into organising conferences after hiring former AiC executives Richard Milroy and Simeon Michaels over the past year.

Resnik says the conference business is an extension of the central tenet of the business based on the holistic view of financial planning. The ProQuest business seeks to provide a scientific basis for articulating the needs of the clients while the conference business provides the knowledge for financial planners to address those needs.

Resnik says the central themes running through the upcoming Gearing & Investments conference are the tax changes to be unleashed following the Ralph Review and the lack of structured education programs available for investors looking to enter into gearing arrangements.

"A lot of the direct sites are like self-administered Molotov Cocktails," he says.

"There is very little in the way of education provided to mitigate some of the risks being taken by investors."

He says the Ralph inspired changes to capital gains tax rules will change the way people invest in managed funds and particularly change the way investors approach gearing managed funds and shares.

Highlights of the conference include the launch of the star rating system for margin lenders by banking research house Cannex.

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