Advisers should quit ‘ASIC-bashing’

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Advisers should stop criticising regulator Australian Securities and Investments Commission and move forward with what is important, says a business analyst.

“This year, advisers should move forward. We’ve got to stop bashing ASIC. They are there to police corporate behaviour, they are not there to pick or discriminate against anyone. They’re there to do a job,” says MGF Consulting Group managing principal Max Franchitto, who gives best practice advice to planners.

While advisers may not like the change which is happening in the industry, “rules are the rules”, he says.

“Change is inevitable. Let’s talk about how we’re going to manage change. As an industry we’ve been through a lot, let’s get used to managing change without being seen as the group that resists it.”

Instead, this year advisers have an opportunity to focus on quality of advice by selecting the best products, he says.

“A good builder won’t use second-rate building materials. There’s an opportunity for advisers to select out those products which are unlikely to do well. It’s not the product provider’s fault.”

 Franchitto believes 2014 will be the year for consolidation, and planners should “take a serious look” at whether the size of their practice matches the level of service for clients.

“Every adviser is different. There’s no recommended number it’s a question of making sure you’re providing the best advice. Some advisers can handle 150 clients, others 300.

"But 1000 clients for one planner – you can’t say you are going to service that many. Work out what level of service you can provide efficiently then allocate the number of clients,” he advises.

Franchitto believes grandfathering, fees and commissions allocation will remain hot issues for 2014, but encourages planners to be “better change managers” to get through the year intact. 

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  • Alistair on 14/01/2014 9:56:33 AM

    All ASIC then needs to do is to focus on regulating properly. Hitting advisers is not and never will be the solution. Going after the large banks, institutions, industry funds would be the correct answer if only ASIC would hit these folk very very hard with massive fines and hold those at the top of the decision making tree in these entities accountable with time in jail for their mistakes. Shareholders would demand accountability and remove the nitwits at the head of these entities and their minions who are essentially intellectual derelicts.
    If you want advisers to stop ASIC bashing, the answer is simple. Have the folk at ASIC do a better job addressing systemic issues in this industry as per above. Fines need to be harsh starting with say $1 Billion dollars for the entities.
    Remove once and for all conflicts between the product manufacturer and the adviser thereby allowing each to do their part for the consumer with true competition for shelf space being the order of the day for all investment related products with a FLAT commission for insurance related products across the board.
    Recently RI advisers were annoyed with the ANZ for creating a 2 tiered system with the cheaper option being for those that gave biased advice for promoting the banks products.
    How does this help the client....?
    Is ASIC doing its job and looking after the consumer and the industry...dah
    ASIC looks but does not see. Its current in charge lack vision and are not up to the task.
    They do not look after the consumer and cares less for the adviser as the adviser is often made to be the scapegoat when schemes fail and investors lose money as though in the wash up, we will all forget that these failed schemes ought never have been given the rubber stamp of approval by the cop on the beat that is ASIC...that's the bottom line
    Stop ASIC bashing eh ?...yeah right !!!!

  • mark on 14/01/2014 10:24:51 AM

    MAX, incompetence is rife we are not confident that the regulator is what they say they are, they scalp hunt in order to make the press,who will police the police...seems to me you have to say this to sell sell sell your business.

  • Alan on 14/01/2014 1:08:52 PM

    Yes Max, you are not an adviser I take it. We, as advisers will stop the so called "ASIC bashing" when they decide to promote a positive environment and assist advisers instead of generating a climate of fear and intimidation. Yes there is more change (as if we haven't had enough) and more regulation anf compliance but where and when does it stop? I guess now that we have got rid of the previous government and their shambles who are responsible for much of the FOFA nonsense, things may slowly improve. It is an extrmely difficult business environment we operate in now overlaid with massive regulation and puntive threats leading many to conclude enough is enough. I'm speaking with over 25 years experience and I'm sure my peers would agree with me. So it's all OK for you to plead for ASIC, how about seeing it from our perspective. After all, you claim to be a business analyst.

  • Martin B on 14/01/2014 2:42:52 PM

    Sadly as usual more regulation means less quality time spent with the customer. And OMG I hope the customer doesn't want something because preparing an SOA now days is onerous in the extreme. Massive fines for the useless FDS is a joke. Surely there must be away we can spend more time with our clients and less time on felling whole forests for disclaimer purposes. Did I cover this, did I cover that, alternative strategy, best interest, what did I forget, fee's etc. We are the only industry that sells a product or service that has to write war and peace and then still gets targeted by ASIC because we may have made a relatively minor disclosure mistake that may have cost the client one day if the market ever fell unexpectedly or a product failed that we could not have possible known about in advance. Rant over.

  • Max on 14/01/2014 3:41:04 PM

    Hi Alan

    I "am" a business analyst that started as a life agent in 1982, call me if you need help. I am not pro ASIC I am pro managing what you have......the old cliche' when god gives you lemons make lemonade.....

  • Steve on 17/01/2014 2:40:57 AM

    Max, have you not read anything at all that we advisers have been saying? We are not ASIC bashing because we don't want change or because of some ridiculous fofa compliance rubbish(and most of it is rubbish Max), we ASIC bash because of their incompetence, lack of foresight & failure to act when needed to. Do your homework please. It's pretty obvious it's not about fear of change! Pfffft.

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