Former AFA President Named to Professional Standards Body

A former AFA President and former FPA Board Chair have been appointed as directors to the nine-member professional standards body for financial advisers.

Deborah Kent

Deborah Kent

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer announced the membership of the new Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA), which will include the immediate past AFA President, Deborah Kent and immediate past FPA Board Chair, Matthew Rowe.

Kent and Rowe will be joined by Stephen Somogyi, a director of the Guild Group and Unisuper, as the three FASEA directors with financial services experience.

The FASEA board will consist of three directors with financial services experience, three directors with consumer advocacy experience, an ethicist and an academic. It will be chaired by Catherine Walter, a director of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Payments Systems Board and a Director at Australian Foundation Investment Company.

Walter’s term will as chair will last four years while the other directors have been appointed for terms between two and three years.

O’Dywer said the role of the chair was to maintain board cohesion and ensure directors with different background could work towards professionalising the financial advice sector.

The Minister added that FASEA would be responsible for setting mandatory educational and training requirements for advisers, the development and setting of an industry exam, and the creation of a Code of Ethics that all advisers will be required to adhere to.

The announcement of the FASEA chair and committee was welcomed by the AFA, FPA and FSC which emphasised the importance of the board and the standards it will introduce.

FPA Chief Executive, Dante De Gori said the FASEA board had “…the breadth and depth of experience necessary to approve the education standards for financial advisers, the exam, and the model code of ethics” and the new standards would “…provide assurance to consumers that their financial planner will be highly trained, experienced and subject to an enforceable code of ethics”.

AFA President, Marc Bineham said, “The AFA welcomes the diversity and inclusion of industry, consumer, education and ethical representatives on the Board” and the formation of FASEA was a key step in providing clarity around the professional standards and education pathways for financial advisers.

FSC Chief Executive, Sally Loane said the board still had much work to do before the 1 January 2019 deadline to set standards and publish a Code of Ethics within timeframes that allowed advisers time to complete and meet the new requirements.

“The next step will be for FASEA to appoint the CEO and a lean and efficient Secretariat as soon as possible to enable stakeholders to work through the detail of the new education and professional standards requirements,” Loane said.

The FASEA board members are:

Catherine Walter – Chair, Deputy Chair of Victorian Funds Management Corporation and Director of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Payment Systems Board.

Deborah Kent – Managing Director and Founder of Integra Financial Services and former President of the Association of Financial Advisers.

Matthew Rowe – Chief Executive and Managing Director of Countplus Limited, former Chair for the Financial Planning Association and former Managing Director of Hood Sweeney

Steve Somogyi – Director at Guild Group and UniSuper, an advisor at Monash University, Victoria University and University of Melbourne and former Executive Member of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

Catriona Lowe – Director of the Financial Ombudsman Service, Legal Practice Liability Committee (Vic), Co-Chair of the ACCC Consumer Consultative Committee and former Chair of the Consumers’ Federation of Australia.

Carolyn Bond AO – Director of the Legal Services Board (Victoria), Debt Repayment Service Board, Adjunct Professor at Deakin University and former Co-CEO of the Consumer Action Law Centre.

Michael O’Neill – former CEO of National Seniors Australia and former CEO of the Australian Gold Council and AgForce Queensland.

Dr Mark Brimble – Professor (Finance) in the Griffith Business School at the Griffith University, Chair of the Financial Planning Education Council and a member of the Professional Planner Advisory Board and TEQSA Panel of Experts.

Dr Simon Longstaff AO – Executive Director of the Ethics Centre. He also holds board positions with the Banking and Finance Oath, BHPBilliton Forum of Corporate Responsibility, BT Professional Standards Council, Westpac Stakeholder Council, IAG Ethics Committee and AUSTRADE Ethics Committee