The AFA’s CEO says one of the aims of the association is to reignite the passion for advisers and to help them to feel good about what they do.
Newly-appointed CEO, Helen Morgan-Banda, made this commitment during her first address to members at the opening of the 2021 AFA Evolve Hybrid Conference, in which she outlined her agenda in working with the organisation she now leads (see also: AFA Announces New CEO).
Reflecting on why she made the decision to take on the AFA CEO role at such a disruptive moment in the sector, Morgan-Banda cited a correlation between the speed and nature of the changes impacting Australian financial advisers and that experienced by members of medical and legal associations in New Zealand, which she led as their CEO for the last decade:
“In times of change I have seen the power of membership organisations to lead on behalf of professions, to support their members to navigate increasingly complex professional environments and to offer the kind of collegiality that supports and reinvigorates in good times, and provides solace and support when the going gets rough,” said Morgan-Banda.
The incoming CEO acknowledged that while the nation is about to enter the greatest transfer of wealth in Australian history – which would normally lead many to consider the coming period to be a golden era for advisers – there exist serious issues that have intervened, and which are currently preventing this potential from becoming a reality:
…a tsunami of new regulations has left many in the sector feeling overwhelmed and disheartened
“New educational requirements, including a compulsory exam to remain an adviser, and a tsunami of new regulations has left many in the sector feeling overwhelmed and disheartened,” said Morgan-Banda, who also acknowledged what she said was the very real distress many highly experienced advisers have felt at the educational and compliance demands placed on them.
She referred to the pincer movement in which many advisers were being caught, being an ever-increasing compliance burden and its associated costs, together with the requirement for them to also meet further minimum education requirements by the end of 2025.
Noting the absence of new entrants into the advice professional and the decline in existing adviser numbers, Morgan-Banda concluded that “Without change, there simply won’t be enough financial advisers to meet demand.”
In offering hope in change, she told adviser members that recent decisions taken by the Government reflect it is listening to peak body advocates, including the AFA – that adviser concerns are being heard, and that more changes, including the cutting of red tape around the advice process, are on the near horizon.
In articulating how the AFA can assist its members navigate their way through the challenges they are facing, Morgan-Banda spoke of resetting the association’s relationship with the Government “…to achieve outcomes that reduce unnecessary red tape and compliance costs to ensure a sustainable sector and profession and enable more Australians to get affordable advice.”
She also spoke of reset the association’s relationship with its own members “…to support you to deliver on our vision to guide more Australians to a brighter and more secure financial future.”
We want to reignite the passion for advisers…
In working to achieve these reset goals, Morgan-Banda said “We want to reignite the passion for advisers – for you to feel good about what you do; to be regarded well for what you do, and to have the drive and the energy to move forward.”
In closing, Morgan-Banda cited a statement in the AFA’s 2019 Annual Report, which she said would act as her beacon during her time as AFA CEO:
“We embrace the new world. We acknowledge that disruption and change are constant, we transform our thinking (both in ourselves and for our businesses) and we are united, unwavering in our mission to guide Australia to a brighter financial future.”