Greetings and a few thoughts on the current state of the profession from the perspective of a self-licensed adviser.
Starting with FOFA, which after the fanfare of the original ministerial statement two years ago on Anzac Day, ended with barely a whimper. In essence, most of the contentious areas being pushed back into regulations which will no doubt be hotly debated over the next six months.
Given the state of the polls and the Coalition’s stated intention to amend or repeal aspects of both FOFA and Stronger Super, one wonders if this has not been a lost few years. To my mind, the saddest part of this saga was the lack of a credible Regulatory Impact Statement, which was the least the industry deserved. This was coupled with a policy vacuum played out by vested interests in the public media.
For those of us with accounting practices, we are still no nearer getting clarity on the replacement to the’ accountants exemption’ due to expire shortly. Add this to the adverse political decisions on future superannuation contributions and no wonder both clients and their advisers are far from happy.
The reality of being in practice is, of course, that you have to get on with meeting clients’ needs and adjust to the circumstances you find yourself in. The advent of social media and improved online technology is a real plus in being able to communicate with clients more frequently and with greater efficiency.
There is much we can learn from other industries that have embraced new technology to provide improved services to clients, notably in travel and tourism. The challenge, as always, is to make incremental improvements to the business processes while retaining the close personal relationships with clients that remain the unique competitive advantage of a boutique licensee. As usual it is not the quickest or fastest adviser that will win in this environment, but the one who can adapt best to the changing environment that is currently providing both threats and opportunities.
On a more positive note, I have the opportunity to again teach a further twenty students in Financial Planning at Flinders University. This will include a significant number of overseas students sponsored in part by the World Bank, who will then return to difficult home environments.
For all our internal issues, the fact is that Australia remains a leader in global financial planning with a mature and experienced workforce that many other countries would love to emulate. For those of you able to help, I will be looking to place these students in work placements for three weeks in late July.
A great opportunity exists for you to get access to highly skilled labour and make an active contribution to educating the next generation of financial advisers.