The SMSF Association has thrown its support behind the co-regulatory method suggested by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services as a means to improve the professional standards of the financial advice industry.
“Our association is firm in the view that this approach is the most effective way to foster a profession instead of a compliance-based approach to financial adviser education and ethical standards,” SMSF Association chief executive Andrea Slattery said.
Slattery accused those individuals critical of the approach of missing the point that elevating the financial advice industry to the status of a recognised profession was the most effective way to improve the professional standards of the sector.
“Building a professional model should improve consumer confidence in financial advice as consumers can trust that they have attained the necessary education and competency requirements, are all members of professional associations, are bound by professional and ethical conduct rules, and, most importantly, are continually looking to improve their skill set,” she said.
Further, she stressed how important it was for professional bodies to play a part in the process.
“In other professions, such as medicine, law and accounting, professional associations play a critical role in educating their members, promoting ethical behaviours and protecting consumers,” she said.
“It patently works in those professions and should be no different for financial advice.
“Our association has been active in building a profession in the specialist field of SMSF advice over the past 12 years and will continue to do so, promoting the need for professionalism and for financial advisers to become specialists in complex areas such as SMSFs.”
While the association did not support some of the proposed technicalities of implementing this approach, she said the industry body was looking forward to continuing its work with government to improve the professionalism of financial advisers.
“We have been a long-time advocate for improving the education and training of financial advisers to deliver better, more specialised advice, especially in the SMSF sector, and believe the co-regulatory approach is the best way to achieve this goal,” she said.