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AIOFP doubles down on disapproval of QAR

AIOFP doubles down on disapproval of QAR

The AIOFP has reiterated its disapproval of the Quality of Advice Review.

In a statement made available to ifa, the executive director of the Association of Independently Owned Financial Professionals (AIOFP), Peter Johnston, said the body is “unashamedly and unapologetically” representing the best interests of advisers in opposing the Quality of Advice Review (QAR).

Mr Johnston’s strong response followed the publication of an open letter by the Joint Association Working Group (JAWG) — made up of 13 key associations, including the FPA, AFA, FSC, SIAA and TAA — penned to Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones last week.

In the letter, JAWG threw its support behind many of the final recommendations of the QAR and confirmed its willingness to collaborate with the government on implementing “much-needed change” to ensure “many millions more Australians can access advice for decades to come”.

Accusing the JAWG of stating the “bleeding obvious”, Mr Johnston said the working group appeared to be taking a “more generic position” on the QAR to try to “influence” Minister Jones.

“The AIOFP chose to not support the Levy QAR from the beginning, was not officially asked to join JAWG and would have chosen not to join anyway,” Mr Johnston said.

“The similar position we took in 2015 to not join the FSC/AFA/FPA supporting Minister O’Dwyer with LIF/FASEA etc. We are unashamedly and unapologetically always representing the best interests of advisers, no compromising,” he said.

Mr Johnston also questioned the composition of the working group, drawing attention to the presence of several accounting bodies.

He also queried why an industry that has suffered a major exodus still boasts 13 associations.

“We only need three associations for the advice community; the mortgage industry only has two and it works,” he said.

Last week, the JAWG said that any response to the QAR must increase access to quality financial advice while maintaining appropriate consumer protections that are proven to work in the interests of consumers.

“The number of Australians who now receive financial advice has fallen by around half. At the same time, the number of advisers has dropped to around 15,800 from over 26,500 in 2019. The average cost of financial advice has increased steadily to over $5,000.

“Urgent action is needed; the government has a rare opportunity to deliver affordable and accessible advice to consumers as an outcome of its response to the Quality of Advice Review,” the group said.

It made several requests to the government, including that it removes regulatory and disclosure requirements not benefiting consumers and reduces the time and cost to prepare quality financial advice.

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