The CEO of the AIOFP, Peter Johnston, reports on the Yes Minister syndrome

Hi, one of my favorite TV programs from the early 1980’s is the political satire ‘YES MINISTER’ where the wily bureaucrat Sir Humphrey Appleby would manipulate the Minister into outcomes that suits the Public Service agenda, not necessarily that of the Minister.

This highlights the reality of Politics in today’s world, Ministers come and go with elections and performance, Bureaucrats are always there plotting, planning and implementing their own agenda. It’s no mere coincidence that the Head of Public Servant departments are earning around twice that of the Prime Minister.

One concept we want to put to the Bureaucrats in Treasury, ASIC, the Treasurer and Minister is that the ADVICE COMMUNITY does not want to protect the ‘bad apples’ in our ranks, we want them out of the industry more than anyone else.

It has become quite apparent that Politicians and Bureaucrats constantly bypass the Advice experts at the ‘coal face’ of our industry when seeking information. It seems they think the Advice community wants to protect its own regardless of their actions, they would be very wrong!

Surely with any other industry the best people to seek information from are those who are actively operating on a day to day basis in the field? For example, during bushfires you seek strategy information from those in the forest fighting the fire, not from those sitting in an CBD office.

The recent Quality of Advice review is an example of this happening. With all due respects to Ms. Michelle Levy, but her background is Corporate Superannuation with little [if any] experience in financial advice. How is Ms Levy going to cope with hundreds of submissions from all the different factions in the industry with different agendas?

The short answer is it will be extremely difficult and unfortunately a likely waste of tax – payers money and 7 months of critical industry time we cannot get back while trying to recover from a tumultuous 9-year period of Government intervention.

We are writing to both the Secretary to the Australian Treasury Dr Steven Kennedy PSM, Deputy Secretary Meghan Quinn PSM [financial markets], ASIC Chair Joe Longo, Treasurer Chalmers and Minister Jones requesting that industry experienced individuals be included on all consultative panels to inject some ‘coal face relevancy’ into the decision-making process.

We will keep you informed of progress.


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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