The CEO of the AIOFP, Peter Johnston’s letter to Joe Longo chair of ASIC

Dear Joe, we are writing out of concern for the future of lowering the cost of financial advice for consumers and recruiting new Adviser graduates into the Advice industry.

Last Tuesday April 30th, the AIOFP attended Minister Jones’ Round Table discussion with other Industry stakeholders to address any concerns with the current

‘Delivering Better Financial Outcomes’ legislation before Parliament.

It is unfortunate that ASIC’s Senior Executive Leader [Superannuation and Life Insurance] Ms Jane Eccleston’s rather jaundiced and misguided view of the Advice community was communicated to all participants.

Ms Eccleston commenced the Group discussion and literally stated the following in her opening remarks ‘We are here because Financial Advisers had been taking money out of Clients Accounts’……. We were flabbergasted by such erroneous commentary. When I challenged Ms Eccleston on the accuracy of her comments the only retort was ‘they [the Advisers] eventually got some of it’…..Considering Bank Advisers were on fixed incomes I question that assertion.

This is not only highly offensive and illogical but appears to be a spurious attempt to smear the Advice community in front of all other stakeholders. In addition, we point out that this behaviour is in breach of the Australian Public Service [APS] Values guidelines under Impartiality, Respectful and Ethical standards.

We are trying to re – build the Advice industry for the benefit of consumers but having Senior Public Servants making such comments is unhelpful and quite frankly appalling. It is also noted that Ms Eccleston has form with favouring the Banking sector in the media –

We pointed out to the meeting that it was the ‘faceless’ Banking Executives who allowed the sweeping of fees from client’s accounts [including the dead] to take money for a service that was never delivered. It was not the internal Bank Advisers and certainly not independent Advisers who do not have access to client’s bank accounts or any other account. It should also be noted that not one Banking Executive was charged over these incidents.

For the record, after this devious activity was discovered during the Royal Commission, Commissioner Hayne recommended that Consent Forms be used where the trustees of Superannuation Funds must approve any deductions from a clients account to pay for advice services. This seemed fair under the circumstances at the time BUT the Banks have now left the Advice sector leaving behind Consumers and Advisers to deal with an expensive and unnecessary compliance impost.

These Consent Forms do not exist in any other jurisdiction on earth and should not exist in Australia. It seems to be the Canberra based Bureaucrats pushing this agenda but they do not conceptualise that Advisers have no choice but to pass these unnecessary expenses directly back to their clients to pay. Why should consumers be paying for the Banking sector misdeeds?

We are requesting a written apology from Ms Eccleston within 14 days which will be circulated to the industry and media. This correspondence will also be shared with the media.

We look forward to your response in due course.


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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