Financial planning and advice peak bodies ‘make history’ with merger

Insurer says members should be congratulated

Financial planning and advice peak bodies ‘make history’ with merger

Insurance News

By Terry Gangcuangco

The Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) and the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) are merging, following Tuesday’s voting by their respective members, to create the Financial Advice Association of Australia Limited (FAA).

First proposed to members last September, the merger needed 75% of the votes cast by eligible voting members to be in favour. During the peak bodies’ February 28 extraordinary general meetings in Sydney, an average of 96.5% and 96.7% of AFA and FPA votes, respectively, were in favour of all resolutions.

United voice

AFA president Sam Perera (pictured below) said a combined association “gives us a united voice at a crucial turning point for our profession,” with members acknowledging the importance of a strong, single representation to the likes of regulators and the government.

When the merger was proposed, it was highlighted that a unified voice would add clarity and power while avoiding activity duplication. Former leaders of both peak bodies even wrote to members in support of the union.

For FPA chair David Sharpe, it was “a historic day” for the organisations.

“We are coming together at a critical time, when we have a real opportunity to drive much-needed change to strengthen and grow the profession of financial advice,” declared Sharpe, who also cited the unanimous backing of the FPA and AFA boards.

“I want to thank all members of the AFA and FPA who have engaged with us, asked many great questions along the way, and taken the time to make their voices heard. You have put your trust in us to create a larger and stronger association to represent you, and we will be doing our utmost to deliver.”

Industry reaction

Among the first to congratulate the successful vote was insurer Zurich Financial Services Australia.

In an emailed release, Zurich said the creation of the FAA represents not only a significant industry milestone but also a further demonstration of the professionalisation of financial advice in the country.

“Members of these associations should be congratulated for recognising the importance of strong and united representation given the significant regulatory and market forces impacting the profession,” commented Zurich Australia’s chief distribution officer for life & investments Kieran Forde.

“Zurich is confident that this merger will create immediate benefits, not just for members, but also for consumers and the broader economy as we seek to enhance access to quality and affordable advice.”

Meanwhile, Financial Services Council of New Zealand chief executive Richard Klipin also offered words of congratulations. He said it was a significant day in the history of Australia’s financial advice sector while highlighting the role played by the AFA community over the past 77 years.

The legal completion of the merger is slated to take place in early April, to be followed by a transition period until the middle of the year.

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