From left: ART CEO Bernard Reilly, Vanguard Australia MD Daniel Shrimski, Conexus Financial founder Colin Tate AM, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, BT CEO Matthew Rady, Minchin Moore managing partner Mark Minchin, Aware Super CEO Deanne Stewart, Conexus Institute executive director David Bell.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has acknowledged the importance of financial advice, saying its social role will become elevated as the Australian population ages.

In an exclusive interview with Professional Planner, the prime minister said the findings of the Intergenerational Report, released by Treasury today, will only strengthen the case for professional advice.

Asked where the government’s response to the QAR sat within Cabinet’s priorities, Albanese said : “What the intergenerational report will show … is that with the aging of the population, financial services will be even more important in the future. So, it’s important that we get the system right.”

The comments followed his participation a special edition of the Conexus Financial Political Series, in partnership with BT, at which the prime minister met with industry leaders, including practising advisers, in an off-the-record forum.

He confirmed the government would commit to 14 of the QAR’s 22 recommendations, but said legislation acting on the commitment would not be forthcoming until next year. The timeline is consistent with that offered by Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones at the Conexus Financial QAR Roadshow in March, but may dash the hopes of some stakeholders hoping for speedy implementation of the reforms.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Conexus Financial editor-in-chief Aleks Vickovich. Photo: Jack Smith

 

The interview came just ahead of the release of the 2023 Intergenerational Report. The document, usually released every few years, is forecasted Australia’s population to grow by about 50 per cent in the next 40 years and superannuation tax concessions to exceed the spend on the age pension in the 2040s.

Alongside advisers, Albanese described superannuation funds as “absolutely critical” to helping Australians navigate a slew of economic and demographic challenges highlighted by the report.

He said the $3.5 trillion pool of retirement savings is an “extraordinary national asset” that should play a critical role in supporting long-term social infrastructure.

“One of the reasons why we are legislating for the purpose of super is to reinforce what it’s for so people have dignity at the end of their lives, but it’s also an extraordinary national asset to have a pool of funds that’s available to invest in long-term infrastructure and other investments which will produce a good return for the members of those funds,” Albanese said. “And we need to very much cherish it.”

Albanese, a former federal infrastructure minister in the Rudd and Gillard governments, noted that some large Canadian pension funds had a larger exposure to Australian infrastructure than the domestic super funds. The inference was that local funds could and should do more.

“What we need, which is capital being allowed to play a role in those long-term investments, suits retirement incomes by definition, by providing that certainty going forward,” he said.

The interview comes ahead of the next instalment of the Conexus Financial Political Series in Melbourne on Monday 28 August, at which Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor and Shadow Finance Minister Jane Hume will outline their alternative vision for management of the economy and policy affecting the financial services industry.