Professional Planner events were experienced through a wildly different lens this year as the industry pivoted (didn’t we hear that word a lot?) from live in-person seminars to online webinars.

Zoom fatigue notwithstanding, the switch to online events was a resounding success not only for us but for the industry as a whole. People have embraced the convenience and the production quality has improved markedly across the board.

As always, the success of our events has been due to not only the hard work and talent of our events team, but the willingness of our delegates, speakers and sponsors to get involved and make a positive contribution. We are in your debt.

Below are the five best event moments as decided by our editorial team here at Professional Planner. Here’s to a cracking 2021 and seeing you all in the flesh in the near future.


1. Ex-New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew opened our Best Practice Forum in July with a stirring discussion on leadership. The man who oversaw the All Blacks winning two World Cups said that when confronted with team members that aren’t the right fit – be it in a high-performing rugby organisation or a successful financial planning practice – the biggest mistake a leader can make is to delay action. “I can never recall once when I regretted acting too fast, but I’ve regretted too slow,” Tew said.

The Assistant Minister for Finanical Services, Superannuation and Fintech, Jane Hume, has been more visible than any of her predecessors, appearing at three of our Professional Planner events this year. At the Licensee Summit in June, Hume explained the government’s intention to do away with the running plan to instil a Code Monitering Body on the industry in favour of a broader plan for a Single Disciplinary Body in line with Hayne’s recommendations. “How many regulators can go into a financial adviser’s office and audit them in a one year period is quite extraordinary,” she said. “I am actually surprised some financial advisers don’t spend their lives being audited.”

To her credit, ASIC’s Commissioner Danielle Press has been equally game this year, unafraid to front up at industry events and explain the regulator’s perspective. While she has subsequently taken a much more collaborative approach, Press did put noses out of joint in June when she intimated that overly conservative licensees were adding weight to the compliance burden advisers were dealing with. ““It’s definitely different from the base level of guidance that we give,” she said. “And licensees will make that decision based on their business offering.”

Deen Sanders, the ethics and professionalism leader at Deloitte and former CEO of FASEA opened our Researcher Forum this December with a fascinating discussion on what it means to be ethical in a world full of conflicts. Sanders also briefly reflected on his time at FASEA, making it clear his personal ethical lens takes a more holistic approach than FASEA’s exhortation for advisers to not “advise, refer or act in any way” where a conflict exists. “I was never as concerned with the issue of fees or commissions or how they were paid as I was with the utter, utter untruth of many of the financial advice business models,” Sanders said.

Also at the recent Researcher Forum, ASIC’s head of investment management, Rhys Bollen, gave us a peek behind the curtain at the regulator when he admitted some frustration at not being to act as fast as they would like to. “I suspect we’re never as quick as we’d like to be or some others would like [us] to be,” he explained. “That’s the nature of being a regulator, we do have to follow due process. The firms that we might be concerned about, we do have to give them an opportunity to respond and the court process – as it should – requires evidence and proper consideration.”

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