Why should I be a member of an Association?

Hi, had an interesting conversation with a non – member on Friday where the following questions were asked –

  • ‘Why should I be a member of an Association?’
  • ‘If I do not see any value in Association membership, should I be a member just to make up the numbers to help the industry?’

Very pertinent questions now that the compulsory TPB ‘glue’ to hold Advisers to Association membership is obsolete. Please pass this email onto any non – members for their consideration.

Our response.

In short, history clearly demonstrates Associations can make a difference in Canberra BUT you need to make sure you are a member an Association that acts in your best interests. If not, it can conversely and viciously work against your best interests, the FASEA/LIF legislation fiasco is a prime example.

What has surprised us in recent times is the illogical view some Advisers have had of Associations and their operational intent. Some think an Association will naturally act in your best interests purely because you are a member – a big mistake, the last 25 years has certainly disproved that notion.

Associations are like any organization, its direction and procedures are governed by its charter, funding source, management origins, politics and the weight of internal factions. Associations, despite being a generic term are not all the same, the last 9 years under the previous Government is testimony to that.

Before joining any Association these fundamental questions should be asked –

  • ‘Who is your PRIORITY – Consumers, Advisers or Institutions?’
  • ‘What is the principal source of funding for the organization?’
  • ‘What is the background of the CEO/Executive Director who drives the daily agenda?’

Despite the disappointments and intense pain caused by the FPA/AFA/FSC alliance with former Minister O’Dywer’s FASEA/LIF Legislation, it did demonstrate that Associations do carry significant power within Canberra and can make a difference. Unfortunately for Advisers on that occasion it was against their best interests.

The answer to the first question ‘should I be a member of any Association’ the answer is NO, the key is to be a member of an Association that supports your interests.

Remember the 1988 Castrol GTX ‘Oils aren’t Oils’ advertisements……the message is the same…..not all oils are the same…..not all Associations are the same.

The other question of ‘making up numbers to support the industry’ is a YES if the Association is acting in your best interests. Otherwise, you are spending your monetary capital with an organization that will use this accumulated Political capital against your best interests. Again, the FASEA/LIF outcome is testament to that.

If an Association is a political fence sitter or has sycophantly tendencies, they are of little value around Federal election time if industry change needs strong advocates.

Political influence is all about numbers, we need to concentrate Adviser numbers to influence Canberra – Advisers hold the key to the 13 Association conundrum by voting with their wallet.

The real political power Advisers have is the trusting relationship they have with their clients, it is something all Politicians are beginning to realize. The AIOFP wants to be that central entity to bring the Advice community together and deal with Canberra.

The AIOFP Board and managements actions over the past 24 years leaves not doubt that we will only act in the best interests of our Adviser members and their clients without fear or favour.


Peter Johnston | Executive Director
Association of Independently Owned Financial Professionals
Suite 1211, 1 Queens Road, Melbourne VIC 3004
P 1800 111 203, d 03 9863 7574, m 0418 857 621
www.aiofp.net.au | Download my business card

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