The federal opposition wants to increase the access to financial advice for more Australians due to the fact individuals are retiring with more money than ever before as a result of the country’s superannuation system.
“When access to professional, quality advice is most needed because Australians are retiring with more money than they have ever had before, it’s becoming harder to access affordable professional advice,” Labor financial services spokesman Stephen Jones told delegates at the SMSF Association 2020 National Conference on the Gold Coast today.
Jones added it was up to Canberra to engage with the industry and regulators to achieve this end result.
Attaining this outcome needs to be based on three high-level principles, he said.
“The first is that there is a clear role for both government and the industry in providing financial literacy programs which empower individuals to make informed choices about their savings,” he said.
“The second is that impartial and affordable retirement income advice should be available to all Australians, including low and middle-income earners with modest retirement savings.
“And the third is this: the provision of advice must be decoupled from the sales process, which quite simply means the prohibition of commissions however they’re described from product manufacturers to advisers.”
He also took the opportunity to criticise the rollout of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) reforms.
“We think there has been monumental mishandling in the rollout of these necessary reforms. We 100 per cent support, as I know everyone in this room does, the project of professionalising and ensuring that everybody who bears the title of professional financial planner and adviser has the professional qualifications and to an industry-accepted code of conduct and ethics,” he said.
“But we have to acknowledge FASEA’s rolling out of these reforms and the government’s oversight of the rollout of those reforms has been woeful.
“Unfortunately you in this room today have been the meat in that particularly unpalatable sandwich.”