Clockwise from top left Sarah Abood, Phil Anderson, David Sharpe and Sam Perera

This week in financial advice has only gotten crazier with the two major associations announcing they will formally explore a merger.

Commencing what was scheduled to be a joint press conference on Thursday to discuss the Quality of Advice Review proposals paper released on Monday, the Association of Financial Advisers and Financial Planning Association announced they will consult with members in the coming months and ultimately place the merger up for a vote.

It will be dependent on 75 per cent of both membership bases agreeing, but if it goes through, Sarah Abood has already been selected to be chief executive while current AFA CEO Phil Anderson will become the general manager responsible for the transition.

“The boards of the FPA and AFA have agreed in principle to explore a merger of the two associations with the aim of achieving a single united voice for the profession,” FPA chair David Sharpe said.

More joint sessions are planned in the coming weeks for members to hear about the proposal and provide feedback. Additionally, both associations will offer member prices to the other associations members for their respective national conferences.

“Coming together will no doubt strengthen our voice to stakeholders and significantly increase the likelihood of achieving crucial advocacy positions, which is vitally important to members of both organisations,” AFA national president Sam Perera said.

Both associations have been well-known for conducting joint advocacy for the industry, including its most recent collaboration as part of the Joint Association Working Group with 10 other groups for a submission to the advice review.

There will be a transition board for almost three years which will include eight directors from the FPA and four from the AFA.

The FPA will nominate a chair, while the AFA will name the deputy chair and this will last until November 2025.

“After that all eligible members of the merged entity can stand for election,” Perrera said.

Old school lessons

Both boards have proposed CFP being the primary designation, with the AFA’s designations essentially being phased out.

The Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner (FChFP) and the Chartered Life Practitioner (ChLP) designations previously offered by the AFA will continue to be recognised, but not available to new applicants.

Anderson said there are very few people currently in the process of completing the AFA’s professional designations because of the education reforms.