The chief executive of the Financial Planning Association of Australia, Jo-Anne Bloch, has resigned to join Mercer as Member Services and Advice Leader. No replacement has been named and the FPA will commence a search for Bloch’s replacement immediately.

Bloch has led the association through three and a half of the most turbulent years on record for the financial planning industry, which has been the subject of numerous government reviews and found itself in the spotlight on several occasions over the role played by practitioners in several high-profile financial collapses.

Under Bloch, the FPA has developed new codes of ethics and professional conduct, and embarked on a major push to improve professionalism and raise standards across the industry, including moves to abolish commissions and establish client-directed payments for planning services.

In a statement, Bloch said: “I have been privileged to lead the FPA and am proud of what we have achieved.”

“I am also very appreciative of the unswerving support I have had from both the FPA Chairs that I have worked with, Corinna Dieters and Julie Berry, and the FPA Board. I also pay tribute to the staff of the FPA who have worked diligently and enthusiastically throughout this period. I will watch with great interest as the next era unfolds.”

In a statement, the chair of the FPA, Julie Berry, said Bloch had been “an excellent leader in the financial planning community and she has done much for the FPA, and the profession. The Board is sorry to see Jo-Anne go, but we respect her desire to move on to other challenges”.

Announcing Bloch’s appointment, Mercer said she had “a longstanding and deep knowledge of the superannuation industry in Australia with experience in the financial advice sector from a business, practitioner, regulatory and strategic perspective”.

“She has experience in both the private and public sectors including working in Mercer’s UK business to establish a new ‘bundled’ pension service in the UK,” the cmpany said.

“Bloch’s industry experience and credibility is also demonstrated by her current positions on the Financial Planning Standards Board Council, a global body that licenses the Certified Financial Planner Mark, she is a Member of the Government Superannuation Advisory Committee and Opposition Superannuation Advisory Committee in Australia, and Board Director of the Finance Industry Council of Australia amongst other leadership positions in the industry.”

The FPA said Bloch would remain with the association until Easter while a replacement is sought. Deen Sanders remains as deputy CEO for the time being.

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