It wasn’t so long ago that the Royal Commission berated the banking and financial planning communities with scathing commentary on behaviour, processes morality and self- interest.

The outcome was legislative and regulatory shifts introducing well intended but maddeningly bureaucratic processes that are not applicable to any other profession anywhere in the world.

The need for change was heard by the leaders of the advice industry who responded with streamlined recommendations based on their real world experience – but it went unheard and unheeded – and now, with the investment and employment worlds falling apart we find ourselves in an unworkable environment where peoples financial welfare, mental well-being and insecurity is at risk and yet  the paperwork to do advice is at the forefront .

Is it time to have a truce and allow some semblance of sanity into planning without ridiculous paperwork? You bet it is, because Australians would benefit from dealing seamlessly with an empathetic army of compassionate skilled financial planners right now.

[Editor’s note: this is the first in a series of columns in which Professional Planner will ask industry leaders to draw on their experience to offer perspective and insight in the midst of a crisis.]

At the time of writing this Qantas has announced the stand down of 2/3rds of its workforce –imagine how frightening that is and how likely it is to occur again and again over coming months. This coupled with financial and emotional distress of small business owners who have nowhere to go and nowhere to hide.

Let’s be realistic about this – it’s no longer a political and professional posturing event, everyone in Australia needs help or guidance at the moment and, as we head into even more fragile emotional times it’s even more frightening and many aren’t equipped to handle the unknown. It’s therefore critical that the daft paperwork and ideology is suspended so advisers can get back to work dealing with clients and doing what they do best – handling their emotional needs and financial security.

This is the moment of truth, the moment of reckoning where good advisers stand up and comfortably get on with client face to face meetings. It’s not all about doing investment portfolio management,  that can and should be outsourced – it’s all about their empathy, counsel and sensible guidance with a client’s emotional and financial needs.

In other words it’s a really difficult profession that requires enormous ‘EQ’ and it isn’t a transaction house like many other professions. Let’s call it out and do work around this for the good of all.

Unfortunately the RC couldn’t or didn’t choose to see this and the planning profession itself failed to demonstrate the importance, so it presented incredibly poorly –hence the easy adjudication for systemic change. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late. These are unheralded times and unheralded action is required.

We need a softening in the legislation if not a step back and we need it now. True leadership has compassion and all that’s important now is we have an avalanche of demand for emotional and financial help on our doorstep.

The legislation appears to guarantee a tragic end, who would be responsible then?