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Hayne Royal Commission
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Chairmans Update: Financial planning dinosaur's react to reform

John Hewison
Founder and Director
26 Jun 2019

I find it sickening to observe the death throes of some members of the financial services community who cling to claims of their “so-called rights” to retain conflicted interests and their ongoing resistance to attaining higher education standards.

Wouldn’t you think that after decades of debate around the need for industry reform, given conflicted practices and inadequate education standards, the penny may have dropped that change was inevitable and the outcomes reasonable? But for those driven by their own greed and self-interest, this is clearly not the case.

The reform of education standards requiring a minimum bachelor’s degree became effective on 1 January 2019 for new entrants to the financial planning profession and by 1 January 2024 for existing advisers.

The fact is, the writing has been on the wall since the early 1990s, I distinctly recall attending the Financial Planning Association annual conference in Canberra in 1993. One of the keynote speakers was former New Zealand Prime Minister, the Right Honourable David Lange who spoke about the key attributes of what a recognised professional was, it was an enthralling and inspirational speech that convinced me of the way forward for the profession and our firm. It was evident then that this was the only way forward for the entire Financial Planning profession.

For those of us who take the Financial Planning profession seriously, we have long been committed to the standards that have finally been introduced to law. Not only are these standards now reflected in law, but most importantly align with the standards the Australian public deserve when entrusting advisers with protecting their financial future.

It does beg the question; why did it take the Hayne Royal Commission to expose the dubious practices of some sectors of the Financial Planning community to finally force change? These practices were well known and repeatedly presented to governments and the regulators; but instead, it took a dramatic expose of a litany of bad practice, rip-offs and poor governance to finally force action.

So, to be frank, it makes my blood boil to read the protestations of minor sections of the Financial Planning community who feel entitled to hang on to their conflicted and unjustifiable cash grab including grand-fathered trailing commissions, outrageously conflicted service arrangements and their refusal to commit to appropriate education and practising standards.

There are lobby-groups who seek to challenge the new standards through continued lobbying and in one case, a representative association is employing a QC to challenge the validity of the legislation as a breach of their constitutional rights. I won’t mention their name, but they hold themselves out to be a ‘professional’ association but in fact, have a long history of questionable practices and associations with several high-profile investment failures. Give me strength!!!    

We can only hope that the government holds firm with its commitment to implement the Hayne recommendations and at long last, we can achieve the standards that many of us in the profession have fought to achieve for so many years.

I say to these rebellious groups – “The fight is over, and your attitudes are consigned to history. Step up or get out!”

The confidence of the Australian public in the financial planning community and the value they place on partnering with a financial adviser to advise them on their financial future will not improve unless they can trust the ethical and professional standards of those in the industry.




Hewison Private Wealth is a Melbourne based independent financial planning firm. Our financial advisers are highly qualified wealth managers and specialise in self managed super funds (SMSF), financial planning, retirement planning advice and investment portfolio management. If you would like to speak to a financial adviser on how you can secure your financial future please contact us 03 8548 4800, email info@hewison.com.au or visit www.hewison.com.auPlease note: The advice provided above is general information only and individuals should seek specialised advice from a qualified financial advisor. The views in this blog are those of the individual and may not represent the general opinion of the firm. Please contact Hewison Private Wealth for more information.