The Advisers Association (TAA) has successfully collaborated with 11 other adviser and financial services associations in a joint submission to the Quality of Advice Review (the Review).

The joint submission focuses on five key areas, including: 
●    Consumer Focused
●    Recognition of Professionalism
●    Regulatory Certainty
●    Open Data and Innovation
●    Sustainability

In contributing to the Review, Mr Macdonald said TAA was particularly concerned that financial planning is formally recognised as a legitimate profession. 

“We believe that the financial planning community has done more than should be required in order to be recognised as a profession,” he said. “Since the Future of Financial Advice reforms came in, we’ve done everything the Government asked us to do. We now have a Code of Ethics, we have a Best Interests Duty, we have high minimum education standards, we have a dispute resolutions system. It’s time to respect the financial planning profession as a profession.”

With that recognition, Mr Macdonald said the Government should release the profession from unnecessary regulatory burdens. “No other profession has the regulatory baggage we have to deal with, so let’s do away with some of it,” he said. “As a starting point, let’s have letters of advice replace statements of advice, where appropriate.” 

Mr Macdonald said TAA also saw the need for open data and innovation. “Advisers need to be enabled to work more efficiently with their clients. This is the 21st century – we have the data and the technology to do this right now.”

Open data would mean allowing advisers, with client permission, to directly access client data held by other entities – for example, My Gov, Centrelink and superannuation funds. 

“Yes, there are privacy and confidentiality concerns, however, there are processes to manage those concerns and the reality is advisers obtain that data eventually,” he said. “Allowing access upfront would save clients and advisers an enormous amount of time.”

Mr Macdonald said he was very pleased that the associations had successfully collaborated and worked together on the joint submission. 

“We first called for a spirit of genuine collaboration within the industry in July last year,” he said. “At that time, we spelt out that genuine collaboration means working together in a spirit of cooperation for the common good. Working together on the joint submission demonstrates that we not only have a spirit of cooperation from our fellow associations, but we can translate that spirit into tangible action.”

Although there are still some areas in which the associations hold different points of view, Mr Macdonald said the experience of working together revealed the views had more in common than they had different. 

“The process revealed our collective willingness to work together, while respecting that we have different perspectives,” he said. “Importantly, what it revealed was that we all genuinely want a thriving, sustainable profession that improves financial outcomes for Australians.”

The associations that participated in the joint submission include the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA), Boutique Financial Planning Principals Association Inc. (BFP), Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ), CPA Australia, Financial Planning Association (FPA), Financial Services Council (FSC), Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA), Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), Licensee Leadership Forum (LLF), Self Managed Super Fund Association (SMSFA), Stockbrokers and Investment Advisers Association (SIAA), The Advisers Association Ltd (TAA).

TAA also made an individual submission to the Review. Click here to read the submission.