Julia Newbould speaking on stage with Michelle Levy

Katoomba. June. 0 Degrees Celsius. This is the Professional Planner Licensee Summit.

A comprehensive speaker list that included Michelle Levy, Alexis George, Renato Mota, Sarah Abood, Justice Derrington, Joanna Bird, Paul Barret, Neil Younger, Peter Ornsby, Matt Lawler, Matt Fogarty and Shail Singh – among many others – this was the event to be at this year if you wanted to hear the most influential people in financial advice speak.

Levy, lead of the Quality of Advice Review, presented her early findings to the industry including the acknowledgement there was significant fear of running afoul of the regulator.

“There is considerable fear of non-compliance in the industry,” Levy said.

“This has resulted in a compliance-driven approach across the industry where the tolerance for regulatory risk is very low.”

ANZ NGA chief executive Paul Barrett said the industry could thrive with a simplified regulatory system if the barrier to entry remained high.

“Accountants, lawyers and doctors have to climb a mountain to become a practicing member of their firm,” Barrett said.

“On the other side of that mountain they have a good life. In financial planning we have to jump over a speed hump and then we have a hard life.”

Insignia Financial chief executive Renato Mota defended the financial value of advice, arguing the significance of the industry moving away from a model that values product and uses advice as a loss leader.

“The industry still values products and continues to give away advice for free,” Mota said.

“Our view is that the value is all in advice. When a client walks into someone’s office they want some advice; they very rarely ask for products.”

The ALRC announced they were considering different adviser/stockbroker licensing rules.

“We are now contemplating what we’ve called the ‘rulebook model’,” ALRC president Hon. Justice Sarah Derrington said.

“[This] will enable us to really delineate the consumer-based obligations that are in Chapter seven within its own particular rulebook, much as we do with market integrity rules.”