A better financial planning sector

David Murray highlights the urgent need for a major overhaul of the financial advice sector.

A better financial planning sector

In his report on the Financial Systems Inquiry (FSI), David Murray highlighted the growing need for a major overhaul of the financial advice sector, a move which could help consumers have more confidence when planning for their financial situation retirement.

Of the 44 recommendations, 28 would affect the superannuation industry and retirement income. So, what are the key points you need to know, and how will they affect you?

More power to ASIC
Giving more power to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) would be the first move to hold financial planners more accountable. Currently, ASIC can only take action after it has been determined there has been a breach of the law, but new powers would enable the body to investigate planners, companies and their products. This means it can stop any practices and products, which would be damaging to consumers, before they are sold or implemented. This of course will only work if ASIC is provided more funding as recommended by the FSI report.

Greater consumer understanding
A greater consumer understanding of financial products and services, including insurance and financial planning products is also a key recommendation. Clearer guidelines and product disclosure statements would help people avoid being sold products which they don’t need, understand or which are flawed.

Minimum education standards for planners
Part of being able to deliver a stronger and more-trustworthy financial planning sector is to implement a requirement for minimum education standards for financial advisers. There is a huge discrepancy between the current minimum education required and that undertaken by advisers who are members of a professional body.

For more detail on the current education undertaken by financial advisers, read our article, Financial adviser register changes.

Cultural change
The report also calls for a change in the culture of wealth and planning divisions, particularly within the large financial organisations, such as the Commonwealth Bank.

“Since the GFC, a persistent theme of international political and regulatory discourse has been the breakdown in financial firms’ behaviour in failing to balance risk and reward appropriately and in treating their customers unfairly”.

However, culture should not be created by imposing penalties on those who do wrong, “industry should raise awareness of the consequences of its culture and professional standard,” the inquiry reports.

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    9th Dec 2014
    Bill Shorten has a great opportunity to show his bipartisan stripes by backing David Murray’s call for a majority of independent directors on the boards of public offer superannuation funds. Why do super members need to pay $20b in annual fees?

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