Neil Macdonald

If The Advisers Association and the Authorised Representatives Association was on your ‘association merger bingo card’, you’ve won yourself a meat tray.

TAA will merge with the ARA after the latter voted to close the 40-year-old association.

The ARA represents around 90 Charter Financial Planning advice businesses and 250 advisers, who will officially join TAA at the start of the new financial year.

Charter Financial Planning is one of the top three licensees owned by AMP based on adviser numbers, along with AMP Financial Planning and Hillross Financial Services.

TAA was formerly known as the AMP Financial Planning Association and merged with the Hillross Advisers Association in February 2020.

In a media release announcing the merger TAA chief executive Neil Macdonald said it will allow for greater collaboration, which is an important need for the advice community.

“Our two associations have a long history of working closely together via numerous consultation groups and this merger will give us an even stronger voice in what continue to be challenging times for advisers.

“The merger will enable us to deliver a more united message in our ongoing communications not only within our own community, but also with the media and with the government.”

Other moves awaited

With a shrinking adviser base that has declined from over 28,000 advisers at the start of 2019 to 16,530 currently, potential association mergers have continued to be a topic of discussion.

The industry’s two major representative groups, the Financial Planning Association and the Association of Financial Advisers, have yet to show any indication of a merger despite the topic being discussed in the past.

The idea hasn’t been dismissed with former FPA CEO Dante De Gori saying it is an issue for members to decide.

Additionally, 12 associations addressed the need to better work together recently and created the Joint Association Working Group to place a submission in the Quality of Advice Review on overlapping areas of agreement.

On the product side, the opposite phenomena happened with life insurers belonging to the Financial Services Council creating a breakaway body, the Council of Australian Life Insurers.