FPA chair Marisa Broome

It’s fair to say Marisa Broome has had a big year.

As chair of the Financial Planning Association’s policy and regulations committee and the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority working group, Broome has been right in the middle of both the peak industry professional body’s response to the Hayne royal commission and lobbying efforts over new education standards.

In October, Broome was named the new FPA chair, taking over from Neil Kendall, a financial planner with Tupicoffs, following an eight-year tenure on the board.

Alongside the work she’s been doing on education standards – she described the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority consultation process as “very long and intense” – Broome has continued advising clients at her Balmain-based practice, wealthadvice, where she’s a principal.

If anyone knows what it’s like to juggle multiple balls and still find time to spend time with clients, it’s Broome. So at a time when financial advisers will need to prioritise their face time with clients alongside studying for new education standards under FASEA, Broome is well positioned to put herself in their shoes.

“From an industry perspective, the big issue for advisers will be how they’re going to juggle meeting new standards with everything else they’re doing,” Broome tells Professional Planner in advance of this year’s FPA Professionals Congress. “Even if someone has an approved degree, they’re still going to have to do at least one more unit of study that doesn’t yet exist, on the Code of Ethics.

“Juggling study, running a business, giving great advice to your clients and everything else that comes with it is hard and we need to acknowledge it’s going to be difficult,” Broome says.

Membership is critical 

Supporting advisers is one thing, but maintaining and expanding the FPA’s membership base while the number of practitioners could be shrinking is an even greater challenge, which the association’s board and executive will need to focus on keenly this year and in the years ahead, Broome acknowledges.

Research has revealed that more than half of all advisers over age 60 will probably exit the industry rather than take on new required study. Meanwhile, the same research shows that about one-third of all advisers are still making up their minds about whether they’ll stay, retire or find another profession.

The FPA has been focusing on building its younger membership base in recent years – a priority the outgoing chair conceived and the FPA’s current executive has executed, Broome explains. The organisation now has 900 student members as a result.

“We can see there will be a period of time people aren’t coming into the industry because they have to meet professional-year and education requirements so we have worked hard on shoring up this part of our membership base,” Broome says.

Another way the FPA will look to attract and retain members will be through its Find a Planner online matching service, which Broome says the association has invested in heavily. A new version of the service will be released early in the new year.

“Getting more people to seek advice through our members – that’s something we are focused on and our new cyber-planning tool will be a big step for us,” she says.

While rebuilding trust with existing clients will be a big test across the board, Broome admits, she says gaining the trust of new clients is possibly the industry’s greatest challenge.

“There’s no doubt that trust in our profession has come into doubt with the revelations of the [Hayne] royal commission but I don’t think that’s so much from our existing clients. [These clients] continue to refer their friends to us, they continue to come back and see us and get advice. It’s the people who are seeking advice for the first time – that’s where the trust needs to be built the most.”

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Smith is the editor of Professional Planner’s print and digital platforms. He is an experienced financial journalist, editor and multimedia producer who has held senior editorial positions both in mainstream press and trade media.