Each year, the Financial Planning Association Roadshow gives us the opportunity to meet with members in their local chapters and discuss topics that will affect the profession in the coming year.
By visiting 33 locations around the country, the 2018 FPA Roadshow will bring our 13,000-strong community of members closer together. The focus this year will be on the new professional and ethical standards, along with reflecting on five years of best-interests duty.
In July last year, the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) was declared the body to provide the new professional standards and education framework for financial planners in Australia.
FASEA provided new guidance on its proposed education standards and code of ethics for financial planners on March 20, and the primary focus of this year’s FPA Roadshow will be helping members and non-members gain a better understanding of what will be required to meet the new requirements.
We will be encouraging financial planners to participate in our consultation process with FASEA, and we are giving members the opportunity to provide input and feedback on the proposed FPA positions in relation to the education standards and code.
We know there is much confusion among existing financial planners about how the proposed standards will affect them. We want those attending the roadshow to share their concerns so we can address the issues and respond to FASEA in an appropriate and meaningful way.
Many valid paths
Every one of the 25,500 planners in Australia has travelled a different path on the journey to gaining qualifications. The FPA is asking FASEA to take into consideration all the additional study our members have undertaken above the minimum standards, particularly for those who have undertaken the Certified Financial Planner units of study.
Similarly, we are asking FASEA to create more pathways for new advice providers to meet the education standards. This will be particularly relevant for career-changers who already have undergraduate degrees.
The FPA has issued a questionnaire so members who are unable to attend the roadshow events can detail their educational journey and give feedback on FASEA’s proposals. This information is critical for informing FPA’s response to FASEA.
Another area of focus at the roadshows will be the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms introduced in 2013. It’s hard to believe five years has passed since the initial implementation of FoFA. For many financial planners, it brought much inefficiency and confusion.
For some, this has improved over the years, and for others, it may still be a struggle as new processes and tools are added. The FPA remains committed to supporting our members so they can provide high-quality financial advice to their clients in a way that meets their best-interests obligations. It is important that all financial planners understand their obligations under the best-interests duty and know that it is more than just a compliance checklist.
Acting in the best interests of clients goes beyond a personal belief that one is doing the right thing. It requires documented processes and actions that clearly demonstrate a planner has truly acted in the best interests of clients.
We will be providing members with an updated version of the 2015 Best Practice Workbook – Taking Other Steps: Best Interest Advice in a Strategic World. The workbook is based on a practical assessment of the best-interests obligations and the FPA Code of Professional Practice. It will provide a FoFA refresher on delivering advice that is in the best interests of clients.
The workbook will contain simple and practical tools, guidance and resources, and provide real advice solutions to help financial planners and their businesses. The toolkit also includes case studies to help advisers demonstrate how the best-interests duty works in practice.
The FPA is deeply committed to supporting members through this transitional period and our roadshows are designed to provide the information financial planners need to meet the education and professional standards the industry and consumers require. I believe the changes in legislation will help increase consumer protection and raise the level of trust in the profession.
Ben Marshan is head of policy and government relations at the FPA.
TOPICS: FPA National Roadshow 2018