Stephen Jones

Shadow financial services minister Stephen Jones has not had any discussions about policy alignments with independents running in the federal election as he is confident Labor will be able to form government outright on May 21.

Speaking on a webinar hosted by the recently re-named Stockbrokers and Investment Advisers Association, Jones said this is based on his own analysis.

“I haven’t [had discussions with independents] and you shouldn’t be worried about that,” Jones said. “It’s going to be easier for Anthony Albanese to get to 76 seats in Parliament at the end of this election than it will be for Scott Morrison.”

In the event Labor doesn’t form government outright, Jones said most policies can be enacted via existing ministerial and regulatory powers.

“Let’s say I’m wrong and we do have to form government with crossbenchers, that won’t be a coalition agreement. If you support us on [certain] legislation fine but we’re not going to try and get a full coalition agreement with you.”

Regardless of how power is attained, Jones said there are certain things that will be done as soon as he is sworn in that won’t require reviews or other processes and is “flabbergasted” that many of the issues in the industry have not been dealt with sooner.

“The honest intention [is to do it as soon as possible],” Jones said. “If you don’t get on that quickly it becomes redundant.”

No brainer

Jones reiterated his support for specialisations and said it is not a step away from professionalisation but recognition of different callings in the industry.

“For the life of me I can’t figure out why this hasn’t been dealt with, it seems like a no brainer,” Jones said. “We know what Parliament voted on, what the intention was… it wasn’t everybody be punched through a single degree which assumes you’re all selling life insurance.”

Jones said it was important to put in different pathways that met the needs of the market and customers.

“I have a mantra around all this stuff which is around sufficient levels of customer safety and protection, but not much that you crush a business model that means no reasonable person could afford access to those services.”

When it comes to the adviser exam, Jones said he would like to see it geared towards these specialisations as well with core elements like ethics being shared but the rest of the content unique.

“That’s not a rock-solid promise. When you’re getting down to that level of detail I would want to take advice.”