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FAAA prepares for pivotal period as advice reforms loom 

The Financial Advice Association Australia (FAAA) says this will be a “watershed” year for the profession as it sets out its expectations and priorities for the period. 

“It is the year when clarity and certainty about the provision of financial advice should be delivered, both to financial advisers and to Australians who can benefit from their advice,” the peak body’s CEO Sarah Abood said. 

“There has been a lot of discussion about what the future of financial advice should look like. It’s our hope and expectation this will be the year that details are worked out and meaningful and positive changes will be delivered.” 

A new advice model is in the works after the Federal Government last year announced its response to the Quality of Advice Review final report on ways to improve provision and accessibility of advice. Under the proposed model, life insurers will be allowed to offer “simple” advice to consumers, a move that has sparked concerns from the FAAA. 

Ms Abood says the association has been generally supportive of the package proposed by the Government in response to the advice review, but cautions “there is still a way to go, with important detail still missing in some areas”. 

“We are calling on government and regulatory bodies to move swiftly to provide the necessary detail, and timelines for consultation and implementation,” she said. 

The FAAA will ask members to respond quickly, and in numbers, to any consultations or submissions, so it can develop a prompt “unified response”, Ms Abood says. “We know there are diverse views among our members and it is essential we hear from as many as possible.” 

Other key matters for the FAAA include addressing the rising cost of doing business, engaging with Australians about the importance of financial advice and attracting new advisers to the profession. 

“We need more great advisers, and to achieve that we need to get the message out there that financial planning has a really attractive career path,” Ms Abood said. 

“There is no reason we can’t reach more than 100,000 financial advisers. There are about 200,000 registered accountants in Australia, and the need for financial advice is just as significant.” 

She says the peak body is also further exploring the use of technology in financial planning, where opportunities exist to streamline operations and reduce cost. 

“We will be including the role of artificial intelligence, looking at both its ability to assist in the delivery of advice but also its potential to do damage,” Ms Abood said. “There are a range of social, ethical and legal questions that we will be working through with members in this space.”