The key themes from last week’s announcements:

  • A clear timeline for higher education requirements for new and existing financial planners has been set by CBA, AMP, Westpac and NAB, ensuring increased education standards.  Once fully implemented, the days of an educational ‘quick fix’ – where a two-week course would allow someone to call him or herself a financial planner – are behind us.
  • Support of the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® designation as the gold standard in financial planning. The institutions listed above all articulated a requirement and pathway for their financial planners to achieve this designation.
  • Compulsory membership of a professional association for some groups and the choice of industry associations for others. We believe it’s essential financial planners operate under a professional code in addition to legislation.
  • In the case of AMP, a new customer complaints panel with an independent chair has been established. More detail on this initiative is still to come from AMP, but we support moves to give Australians greater access to support if something goes wrong.