Key Licensee Firms Respond to New FPA Policy


The FPA policy recommending that a professional registration for individual financial advisers replace the current system requiring an AFSL to provide advice, is “…a surprise and ill-considered”, a statement from six key licensee firms says.

The statement says that comments attributed to the FPA CEO Dante de Gori in local media “…are at odds with the facts”.

The licensee firms state: “The FPA policy is a surprise and ill-considered given the hard work that the entire advice sector has put in to overcome historic shortfalls brought to light by the Hayne Royal Commission and in light of the leading work that AFSLs bring in areas of education, risk mitigation, compliance, consumer best interest measures and commercial support to advisers and their clients”.

It notes that the key areas of cost and consumer protection must be understood, thoroughly, and not diminished through poor policy.

The signatories to the statement are:

  • Neil Younger, MD and Group CEO, Fortnum Private Wealth
  • Angus Benbow, CEO, Centrepoint Alliance
  • Grahame Evans, CEO, Easton Wealth
  • Matthew Rowe, CEO, CountPlus Limited
  • Matt Fogarty, CEO, Fitzpatricks Private Wealth
  • Nathan Jacobsen, MD, Paragem

Their statement concedes that an investigation of reform of the Corporations Law as it relates to its focus on product, not advice, has merit, but that any consideration of this by Government must also look at the true costs and consumer protections currently afforded under existing AFSL Licensing obligations.

Cost of Compliance

The licensees point out that any individual adviser has the option to self-license:

“The individual planner that does self-license will incur the set costs of compliance, governance, and a raft of statutory obligations in providing that advice. These costs are not discretionary. They are mandatory and – in the absence of scale – would likely rise to the detriment of the consumer.”

The statement adds that any avoidance of these costs may potentially lead to poor outcomes and contribute to consumer harm.

…increasing Professional Indemnity premiums compounds the cost of managing risk and delivering additional consumer protections…

“On top, increasing Professional Indemnity premiums compounds the cost of managing risk and delivering additional consumer protections. PI is an increasingly prohibitive cost of business, especially for a self-licensed adviser.”

The statement continues: “Again, costs in relation to compliance with the Corporations Act are not discretionary. The scale, systems & processes, and risk management focus of the AFSL provides an efficient way to deal with the in-built cost of providing compliant financial advice.”

The licensees also point to consumer protections in noting that the AFSL system plays a significant role in the oversight of financial advice (that is not limited to product).

“Licensees have played and continue to play a crucial role in developing, training, educating, and supervising licensed financial advisers.”

They say that this monitoring comes with scale benefits relating to interpreting and adhering to regulations, guides and standards, translating these requirements into processes, procedures, documents, Statements of Advice, and the audit programs that ultimately protect clients.

FPA welcomes debate on its five-year strategy

Meanwhile, the FPA has issued a statement welcoming the ongoing debate and discussion of its five-year roadmap and policy platform “… which has been supported by members and sparked constructive dialogue with industry stakeholders”.

It notes that the 19 reforms outlined in its policy platform support the FPA’s three-pillar strategy focused on:

  1. Members
  2. Advocacy
  3. The benefits of financial planning to Australian consumers

FPA CEO, Dante De Gori, says the policy platform has a five-year horizon and he is pleased to see so much early engagement from industry and government.

“The FPA Policy Platform has 19 critical recommendations for reform that are aimed at reducing regulatory duplication for financial planning professionals, lowering the cost of advice and helping more Australians access advice,” De Gori says.

He noted that the policy positions calling for the future regulation of financial advice to occur through individual registration and oversight, rather than an AFSL system, has “…triggered important discussions among the industry as we work together to create a better operating environment for financial planners and their clients.

Individual registration is an innovative concept for financial planning but not for other professions…

“Individual registration is an innovative concept for financial planning but not for other professions. It should not be confused with self-licensing or individual licensing under the existing AFSL system, which would still result in a duplication of regulation and unnecessary costs for financial planners.”

The statement says that FPA acknowledges that licensees continue to play a crucial role in developing, training, educating, and supporting licensed financial planners.

De Gori says licensees will continue to be needed to provide business development services, technology, education and many other services that give value to financial planning practices.

“Removing the AFSL requirement for financial planners won’t change this,” he says.

“The AFSL does not make the planner, just as the hospital does not make the doctor, nor the law firm the lawyer. Individual financial planners are the ones who provide financial advice and the regulatory system should focus directly on their professional qualifications and behaviour.”

The statement concludes that the FPA looks forward to more discussion of its five-year strategy “…and working with industry and government stakeholders to identify innovative ways of improving the profession for all financial planners and their clients”.


  1. There is a consistent theme that has been pushed for years, in that the search for the holy grail of advice, has led to increased costs, 80 percent of Australians now unable to afford advice and an explosion of Government regulators and Private entities, that are sucking the life blood out of advisers with “improvements” that are an impossible maze of complexity.

    Why do you think over five thousand advisers left in 2019 and only a handful joined the Industry? The answer is simple. It is becoming too hard.

    Unless the Regulations are simplified, systems are adviser and client friendly and there is a moratorium on change upon change upon change, the decline will continue.

    The current LIF has already caused massive damage for little gain and unless overhauled, will cause thousands more advisers to exit the Industry, with nil benefit for any one.

    Licensees are concerned, advisers are concerned and these new changes will also be negligent, in that the core issues that are causing the decline in the Industry, are being overlooked.

    • Its called gravy train!!! Licensees, their puppets, couldn’t persist on our side of the fence, failed, so jump on the other side of the fence and try to tell us how to do it and continue to fail and get paid to fail. But that is what they call ethics?

  2. It’s truly amazing that as soon as their livelihoods and existence is, the CEO’s and MD’s from six dealer groups “collectively” got together and signed this statement. So why don’t they “collectively” get together with the heads of the retail life companies, go the govt and make them understand what is happening to the retail life insurance industry? Doesn’t common sense say that if advisers are to continue under what an outside group called “overwhelming regulation”, coupled with the LIF, that more advisers will leave, which in turn will threaten the dealer groups existence?

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