Financial advisers hold the key to restoring consumer confidence in Australia, according to the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA).
“Problems in the Euro zone, market fluctuations and political uncertainty, both domestically and overseas, all serve to shake consumer confidence,” AFA CEO Richard Klipin said.
“But if you look behind the veil, Australia is still very well-‐ positioned, particularly when compared with other countries and Australians are in fact better off than they were some years ago.”
Mr Klipin sited research from the AMP.NATSEM report Prices these days!, which revealed that overall average Australian families are better off to the tune of over $11,000 per annum than they were in 1984, while those earning income from investments, typically self-‐funded retirees, have experienced income growth of $547 per week above their living costs in the same period.
“It is normal for people to feel deflated and concerned at times like this, but the findings are interesting because they demonstrate how well off people actually are compared to how poorly they feel,” Mr Klipin said. “Clichéd or not, Australia is still the Lucky Country. We are one of the few western nations experiencing economic growth; we have high levels of employment, a good quality of life and high wages.”
Mr Klipin also said that even with the recently announced changes to superannuation, Australia still has an excellent superannuation system.
“Although the AFA believes the Government must stop tinkering with superannuation, we also believe that with mandatory contributions increasing to 12 per cent, the standard of living for future generations of Australians in retirement is likely to be better than it has ever been before,” he said.
The task for the financial advice profession now, according to Mr Klipin, is to communicate the good news to consumers.
“As client-‐first educators, advisers can lead discussions which focus on the positives and what’s right with our world,” he said. “Challenging periods in history, such as the one we are currently experiencing, actually increase the demand for financial advice.”
AFA President, Brad Fox, said that while the industry has been necessarily focused on regulation over the past few years, it is now time to get back to business.
“FoFA is a reality although there will continue to be short term uncertainty around implementation until ASIC and Treasury put the regulations in place,” he said. “This will take time and the AFA will continue to work on behalf of its members to get the best results possible.
“However, the world does not stand still – babies continue to be born, marriages are made and broken, houses are bought and sold, and people are still working in the hope of retiring, so advice is needed now more than ever.
“As financial advisers it is time to move past the distractions of FoFA and fully focus on what we do best – providing quality education, understanding and advice to Australian consumers. This is why financial advisers are critical to restoring confidence. It’s time to make sure you are seeing your clients and referral partners. People are screaming out for advice and leadership.”