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Financial Planning is more than an industry, it’s a profession.

Alexi Guagas
Senior Associate Adviser
7 Feb 2022

Over the last couple of years, we have seen a shift in financial planning from being considered an ‘industry’ to that of a ‘profession’. But what is the difference? And why does this matter?  

The terms financial planning ‘industry’ and ‘profession’ continue to be used interchangeably. But their distinction is crucial in seeking and receiving sound financial advice. ‘Industry’ typically defines a group of companies focused on a particular business activity or service. It is a broad term that encapsulates where professionals work, but not all industries are filled by professionals. 

By contrast, professions – such as medicine, and law – are distinguished from other occupations by common elements. These typically include a specialised knowledge, education, and experience requirements, ethical codes and standards, and regulatory bodies that govern ethical practice to ensure compassion, compliance, and competence.  

While many financial advisers have decided to fulfill an extensive education, examination, experience, and ethical requirement (via Certified Financial Planner [CFP] certification), anyone can call themselves a financial adviser or a financial planning professional. The problem is the public generally can’t tell the difference. Until the CFP certification has been standardised for all financial advisers, the financial planning space will be filled with both professionals who have elevated themselves to higher standards, and those who have not – a tricky space for the public to navigate.  

To move towards a profession (with a little extra speed), the financial planning industry needs to continue shifting towards governing and adherence of ethical standards and codes that help to measure expectations of professional conduct. This will help reduce the risk of unethical behaviour, which historically contributed to the gloomy reputation of the industry and destroyed consumer confidence.   

To ensure clients receive the best quality financial advice, suited to their specific circumstances – the highest standards of education, training, and experience must continue to be championed by all financial advisers. Without this rigorous and specialised knowledge, the pathway to professionalism will remain unresolved.   

So, is financial planning at the stage of being a profession?  The answer is not quite yet; but we are well on our way. This does not mean however, that some financial planning firms like Hewison Private Wealth aren’t already there. 

Hewison Private Wealth prides itself in upholding the highest ethical standards and education. ALL our advisers hold a CFP certification, and our associates are working their way towards the same standards.

Hewison Private Wealth aspires to the rigor upheld by professionals by promoting and living by our four pillars (values): integrity, independence, innovation and excellence. Hewison Private Wealth continues to lead in the financial planning space by ascribing to the standards of a profession. When you meet with us, you are meeting with a team of professionals who aim to work alongside you, help you create financial freedom, and always have your best interest at heart.  




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.