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Advisers push back against 'shonky' criticism

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The Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) has called for an end to the “persecution” of the profession, in response to the latest criticism levelled against it by Labor Senator Jenny McAllister.

“The persistent, ongoing vilification of financial advisers, that we have seen year after year in the Federal Parliament, and in the media, is totally unjust and unreasonable,” acting AFA CEO Phil Anderson said.

“It borders on abuse and must stop.”

Last week in a heated debated over the Treasury Laws Amendment (Self Managed Superannuation Funds) Bill 2020, Ms McAllister expressed concerns over the recommended measures, saying there is a “risk that the people who will benefit most from these arrangements are financial advisers giving shonky advice”.

Mr Anderson says the vast majority of financial advisers always work in the best interests of their clients.

According to him, the entire profession should not be judged based on what a very small minority has done in the past.

“Other professions are not judged because of what their worst do,” Mr Anderson said.

Mr Anderson says financial advisers play a critical role in Australian society and the time has come to stop vilifying the profession.

The number of advisers has dropped by more than 30% since the Hayne royal commission, impeding Australians’ access to financial advice, the AFA says.

The peak body says it believes attacks in Parliament, by consumer groups and in the media are one important factor behind the decline in adviser numbers.

“Is the decline in adviser numbers really in the best interests of Australians, who need help to balance their budgets, invest their savings, save for retirement or protect their family in the event of an insurance event?” Mr Anderson said.

“There has already been an avalanche of never-ending reforms.

“Additional measures to supposedly increase consumer protections will only increase the cost of financial advice and deliver little or no benefit to the many Australians who value their financial adviser relationship.”