Risk specialist dealer groups Bombora Advice and Synchron have urged the government to recognise the differences between risk advisers and financial planners when regulating the advice sector.
Speaking to Risk Adviser, Bombora Advice managing director Wayne Handley said that in a submission responding to draft legislation designed to improve the professional standards of advisers, he has called on the government to recognise that risk specialists need to be looked at differently from financial planners.
“We need to apply the law of logic and common sense, and I think it is high time that we now recognise specialist endeavours and the consumer are aware of the competency of the individual they are speaking to,” Mr Handley said.
“What we need is separate designations for specialists within the sector, just like you would see in the accounting or legal professions.
“[That way] professionals are identified in their area of expertise and the consumer is aware of that,” he said.
Mr Handley acknowledged the need for professional standards to improve, stating that the current entry level is “not high enough”.
“We certainly agree with lifting the professional standards at entry level, we are absolutely in support of that,” he said.
“But for people who have been in the business and have track records of providing quality advice, there has to be a common sense approach to that.”
In a separate submission, Synchron director Don Trapnell said he had urged the government to include “streamlined education pathways” for differing advice professionals in the draft legislation.
“It is presupposed by government that financial planners and risk writers are in the same discipline, but they are not,” Mr Trapnell said.
“In our letter, we reflect our long-held belief that there needs to be a separation of disciplines in the education and training of financial advice practitioners.”
Mr Trapnell added that he has concerns – similar to those of the AFA – regarding the need for long-serving advisers to undertake further study to meet the new standards.
"There are very senior, very respected advisers within our Synchron group, including myself, who despite their many years of experience and varied qualifications will be forced to undertake a university degree in order to continue practising,” Mr Trapnell said.
“Like many other experienced risk advisers, I hold formal life insurance qualifications, including Certified Insurance Professional by ANZIIF. Given my life insurance qualifications, level of experience and expertise, why should I and risk advisers like me have to re-train? There needs to be a more practical pathway established for existing advisers.”