Has the financial planning tide turned?

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It will be interesting to hear what the Financial Planning Association (FPA) head Dante De Gori has to say about the future of financial planning when he joins us at the Pritchitt Partners New Financial Year reception in Melbourne next month.

I have been an observer of financial planners since I started working as a journalist 29 years ago (making me nearly 39 years old now!) including a two year stint editing the FPA’s Financial Planning magazine. Back then, Paul Clitheroe was president of the FPA, Russell McKimm vice president and the late Jock Rankin the newly appointed CEO. Between them they provided the FPA with a much needed shot in the arm. At that time there were plenty of financial planning stories to write, covering off conflicts of interest, soft dollar, trail, and up-front commissions among other issues, with many of the older planners vigorously defending their entrenched position.

Many of these planners have now retired or otherwise left the profession and are being replaced by a new breed of younger, better qualified professionals. But it is still true to say that over many years, an element of the financial planning old guard didn’t recognise the need for change.

Some planners have always done a great job for their clients but it is now clear there was more wrong than most practitioners admitted to. As a result, reform has been forced on financial planning, and has hastened the professionalism its leaders have sought for many years.

Revelations over the past few years, including at the Royal Commission, have changed the face of financial planning forever.

Yet despite all the criticism one fact has remained constant – there is an increasing need for good financial advice.

Therefore, there is every reason to expect that financial planning will rise Phoenix-like from the ashes of past scandals in a changed form, equipped to help Australians build and manage wealth.

Restoring trust as well as successfully communicating the value financial planners provide, will be key elements anchoring the future success of financial planning.

As we have written before – this is no easy task for any organisation, and will be especially difficult for individual financial planning firms.

Promoting the benefits of financial advice and executing successful communications on behalf of their members and the professional generally is a role Associations must embrace.

Which makes getting an update on the views of the FPA and the approach it will take very timely for our clients and others in financial services.