AFA : Everything you need to know

Headquarters address: 5/257 Clarence St, Sydney New South Wales 2000, Australia
Year established: 1946
Size (employees): Around 50
Expertise: Financial advice
Key people: Phil Anderson (CEO), Sam Perera (national president)

 

About AFA
The Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) is an organisation that represents financial advisers and their clients across Australia. Founded in 1946, its stated mission is to create an environment for financial advice professionals to collaborate, advocate, innovate, and learn. It aims to empower financial advice professionals to transform the lives of Australians through quality financial advice.

AFA also accepts non-practicing members, including students, support members, paraplanners, associates, and affiliates. New advisers, who have been in the financial advisory profession for less than three years, have a discounted membership rate.

Membership in the AFA provides opportunities for professional growth, learning, and networking with a large number of Australian financial advisers. The organisation also works to advance the welfare of financial advisers and related professionals. Its pillars are advocacy, professionalism, professional development, and education.

In order to assist its members, AFA has partnered with Benestar, a major provider of employee assistance programmes in Australia. It provides support and coaching to help members improve their health and well-being by providing solution-focused counselling and coaching, and a confidential and non-judgemental environment to consider issues at no cost to AFA members.

AFA also runs a mentoring programme that connects new advisers with senior members that provide experience, insight and practical know-how for a financial advice career. Mentors consider this an opportunity to give back to the profession and share their resources.

 

AFA Code of Conduct
The AFA is guided by a Code of Conduct containing six principles of professionalism. These set out the standards for AFA members and aim to achieve good consumer outcomes as well as enhance the professional reputation of financial advisers.

  1. Integrity and Professional Conduct: Act with the utmost integrity which encompasses the highest standards of professional conduct, honesty, and ethics.
  2. Best Interests: Act in the best interests of your clients in seeking to extend and secure their financial wellbeing.
  3. Conflicts of Interest​: Do not allow conflicts of interest to influence your actions inappropriately. Always place the client’s interests before your interests.​
  4. Informed Client Consent​: Educate your clients on financial matters and help them to understand the decisions that they are making.
  5. Service Standards: Provide professional service that is aligned to your clients’ circumstances and your agreements with them.
  6. Professional Expertise: Strive to achieve high standards of professional expertise by maintaining and improving your knowledge and skills, and those of your staff.

 

AFA Awards
Every year, the AFA gives out several awards to recognise excellence in the financial advisory profession, as well as contributions towards diversity, innovation, and education. These awards are AFA Adviser of the Year, AFA Practice of the Year, AFA Female Excellence in Advice, AFA Rising Star of the Year, and AFA Excellence in Education. These awards, according to the organisation, help build excellence, which inspires trust and confidence in the profession.

 

Key people at AFA

Phil Anderson – CEO
Anderson as elevated to the role of chief executive in January 2022, following the decision of Helen Morgan-Banda, who was appointed to the role in August 2021, to return to New Zealand. Anderson, who has been the general manager of policy and professionalism at AFA since mid-2017, was acting chief executive for six months during 2021 after the departure of Phil Kewin in March of that year and prior the appointment of Morgan-Banda.

Anderson held the role of chief operating officer at AFA from August 2011 to October 2015 before departing to become general manager of governance and advice at investment and superannuation firm Netwealth. He also held various senior roles within several industry players, including as head of risk management and compliance at Colonial First State and National Australia Bank. (NAB)

Sam Perera – national president
Perera took over the role of national president in October 2021, following Michael Nowak’s resignation as board member and president. Prior to his appointment, Perera has been a member of the AFA Board for two years, one as treasurer and most recently as vice-president.

 

Culture at AFA
The AFA Foundation was established in 2007, and is a core pillar in AFA’s commitment to supporting the community and society at large. It is supported by financial contributions and the efforts of AFA members, and has raised over $2 million for charities across the country.

Some of the AFA Foundation’s regular charity partners are MS Research Australia, Lifeline, and Make a Wish Foundation. It has also worked with the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, Cancer Council NSW, Save the Children, and Hobart Women’s Shelter, among others. In 2019, AFA launched a grants program where members can nominate a local community charity to receive assistance from the foundation. Following the success of the initial run, a second programme was launched in 2020.

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