Phil Anderson

The loss of liberal MPs with financial services experience has come as a surprise to the industry and the coalition is now tasked with replacing the loss of know-how in the sector.

Speaking at the AFA Roadshow in Sydney on Wednesday morning Association of Financial Advisers chief executive Phil Anderson noted the exodus of high-profile MPs from the election, including Treasurer Josh Frydenberg as well as Jason Falinski and Tim Wilson who sat on financial services committees.

“We probably weren’t expecting the scale of loss,” Anderson said.

The exit of so many experienced financial services leaders could weaken the LNP’s ability to hold the new government to account in financial services.

Despite discontent in the industry with how the government has handled financial advice reforms, Anderson said, it seems financial advisers were not the only ones unhappy with the government.

“As a result the election was a fairly resounding win for the ALP. Not because they had an increased share of the primary vote – their primary vote has fallen to 32 per cent – but that was enough to get them across the line.”

Labor is likely to hold 77 seats, which is lower than the pre-election polling from YouGov which suggested 85 seats but sufficient to have a majority government which Jones predicted.

Jane Hume is yet to have any official change to her portfolios but her silence on the campaign trail in the industry compared to her exposure in mainstream press has given the indication to many in the sector that she will likely move on from financial services.

Anderson told Professional Planner at this stage he’s hasn’t seen any indication about who may take over the role.

“That will play out over time and it will be interesting to see where minister Hume lands.”

When it comes to remaining talent, Anderson pointed to former financial adviser Bert van Manen and Slade Brockman as experienced members that can lead the coalition in financial services.

“[van Manen has] been on the Parliamentary Joint Committee for a long time, but does he end up in a different role? We’ll just have to wait and see,” Anderson said. “Brockman was at one stage chief of staff of Matthias Corrmann when he was shadow minister and minister [for finance]. There are people who have good understanding of financial services.”

Another option is former Financial Services Council policy manager Andrew Bragg who retained his seat in the Senate and has since proposed to “liberate” Australians from compulsory superannuation as part of a 10-point manifesto he believes the party should adopt.

Bullets dodged

A week before the election, the Coalition announced an early release of super policy for first home buyers which Anderson said has been immediately “quashed” with Labor now in power.

“It will be interesting to see whether it continues to be a policy [for the Coalition] going forward,” he said.

Anderson was less diplomatic towards policies proposed by the United Australia Party which had advertised a maximum interest rate of 3 per cent on all home loans.

“I wonder whether they spoke to an economist before they put that policy in place. Did they see what was happening with inflation? This policy would’ve cost the government a bucketload of money.”

He also mentioned their “bring Australian super home” policy which would’ve divested the country’s superannuation from overseas.

“We’ve got people from the centre [of the political spectrum] making political decisions and those trillion dollars can stay overseas invested as you choose.”

The UAP won no seats in the lower house.

Congrats, Stephen

On Tuesday night Stephen Jones was officially announced financial services minister as part of the outer ministry. Anderson said it would’ve been “problematic” for the industry to have a new person in the role.

“He’s been in that role for nearly three years and through that time came up through a learning curve,” he said.

Anderson noted some of Jones’ comments in the past on life insurance commissions and praised him for changing his stance on the issue.

“There’s been many people that have been talking to him since… I’m much more confident that he better understands the life insurance market.”

Around the industry, Financial Planning Association CEO Sarah Abood said Jones is an excellent appointment to the financial services portfolio.

“We are expecting the new Albanese Labor government to quickly deliver on its election commitment to provide much-needed certainty to the profession on education standards, including providing for a framework to better recognise relevant experience,” she said in a media release.

SMSF Association CEO John Maroney said Jones and Treasurer Jim Chalmers have always been willing to listen to the issues affecting the SMSF sector.

“We are confident they will appreciate the importance of these two measures and we seek their support to pass the legislation through Parliament,” Maroney said in a statement.

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