Know your product: ASIC's Peter Kell

The financial planning sector in Australia is moving rapidly towards becoming a profession in a process that is now irreversible.

This is the view of Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) deputy chairman Peter Kell, who described the financial advice industry as being in a state of flux with a lot of professionals operating, but not yet a profession.

Speaking at the official dinner for the Professional Planner Dealer Group Summit on Monday night about the next steps for the financial advice community to become truly professional, Kell said he was pleased at the pace in which firms are “bedding down” their processes to comply with the new reforms.

“The industry is taking the next steps,” he said. “Implementing FoFA provides a structural platform for better alignment between the client and adviser, and one of the next big areas is going to be around qualifications, competency and training, and that is certainly going to be a focus for ASIC in the next year or so.

“But we’re really moving along that path now at a speed which is very promising and basically irreversible.”

Faster than medicine

Parliamentary secretary to the treasurer, Bernie Ripoll, said advisers needed to “walk the walk and talk the talk” to ensure professional status.

“It needs to look, feel and smell like a profession for it to be one accepted by the community,” he said. “It won’t be governments that deem you a profession, it will be the community that does and that will take some time.”

Ripoll added that financial planning becoming a profession was inevitable but that the process can’t be rushed.

“Doctoring became a profession over a couple of thousand years. You’ll get there a lot quicker,” he quipped. “We will enshrine the terms financial planner and financial adviser, which will absolutely set up a professional framework around the ability to call yourselves that.”

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