The Independent Financial Advisers Association of Australia today announces it has progressed its plans to professionalise the industry.
The IFAAA last month submitted an application to the Professional Standards Councils for recognition under the Professional Standards Act 2004, and has rebranded to the Profession of Independent Financial Advisers (PIFA), an intention it announced in late 2017.
“The term ‘professional’ is used a lot in financial planning these days but there’s a very big difference between calling yourself a professional and actually being part of a legally recognised profession,” said the President of PIFA, Daniel Brammall. “Members of a recognised profession are subject to professional standards that are above and beyond the legal minimums imposed by law – there are quality assurance and audit protocols, a significant compliance and risk management framework, and complaints and discipline processes that have real teeth – all in the public interest,” said Mr Brammall.
In exchange for upholding higher standards, Professional Standards Legislation places a ceiling on the legal liability for which members of the Profession can be liable. “Although there’s a lot of work yet to do here, we believe this will assist professional indemnity insurers in assessing members of the Profession as a significantly lower risk, with flow-on reductions to insurance premiums,” Mr Brammall said.
Professional Standards Legislation is monitored and enforced by the state-run Professional Standards Councils who ensure high standards of professionalism for consumer protection. “As a member of the Profession you take on a significant responsibility and earn the trust of the public in return,” Mr Brammall said.
One of the Profession’s first stated objectives is to assist in the development of genuinely independent and professional financial advisers. The Profession isn’t intended to be a small, exclusive group – it invites and welcomes all financial planners to start their journey and take their place among the other publicly recognised and trusted professions such as the law, accounting and medicine.