The CEO of the AIOFP, Peter Johnston, comments on ASSOCIATIONS VALUE

With a new Government in power, it is opportune for the Advice Community to reassess if past Association political lobbying is working for the sector – as clearly the past 9 year environment has been an unmitigated disaster for the advice community.

It is time to look past all the designations/discounts/trinkets Associations offer and get to the core of what matters most, is the board/management acting in your best interests in Canberra? Much the same as an Advisers best interest obligations to clients, it is critical to get it right.

The following is an unashamedly self – serving description of what has happened over the past 9 years and why we can’t let it happen again. We have 13 Associations competing for a diminishing number of Advisers in a politically fractured environment, the optics in Canberra is a rabble of infighting – this must end.

When you have a Government with an agenda to exterminate Advisers from the consumer relationship, having an Association that panders to the Government or sits on the political fence is useless to Advisers. Furthermore, if Advisers are members of an Association where their member priority is NOT to Advisers but consumers or Institutions you have a potentially terminal problem for the Adviser community.

This precise scenario played out when the FSC teamed up with the FPA/AFA to support then Minister O’Dywer to get LIF/FASEA Legislation through Parliament. Here we had a Bank/Institutional backed Association [FSC] with a Consumer priority Association funded by the institutions [FPA] and a former AMP/NATIONAL MUTUAL Association [AFA previously known as the LUA] supposedly representing Advisers interests in Canberra.

It was and still is a disaster for Advisers, Frydenberg’s 2014 objective was to please the Liberal supporting Institutions who wanted to replace Advisers with digital technology – the foxes guarding the chicken coop scenario comes to mind.

The FSC/FPA/AFA role gave the crucial ‘industry support’ needed to convince Canberra, the result? – A sad landscape of suicides, widespread mental health degradation and financial losses for both advisers and consumers.

It is without a doubt the greatest disaster in Financial Services history and we cannot let it happen again.

‘If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got…..’ comes to mind.

There are too many Associations for the Advice sector at last count it was 13 which is at least 8 too many. Considering Adviser numbers have decreased by around 40% over the past 5 years it compounds the problem, one of the reasons why the Mortgage Brokers have been successful is they only have 2 Associations who collaborate.

Trying to rationalize 13 different Associations with all CEO/Boards trying to protect their ‘mound’ will take years to complete, we simply don’t have years to get our act together.

The best way to sort the logistics are Advisers voting with their feet and wallets by having a close look at who they are giving their political and financial capital to.

The last 9 years suggests staying away from Associations who –

  • don’t have Advisers as their priority.
  • have a mixed membership base.
  • have severe internal Member disciplinary rules.

We suggest doing some homework and look at their track record of standing up when it counts.


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 | Download my business card

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