Academics and practitioners collide

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A personal finance and investment symposium, which brought together academics and practioners, has been touted as the way forward to increasing the professionalism of the financial services industry.

More than 70 academics, industry leaders and practitioners attended the symposium last Thursday at Griffith University’s South Bank campus – and feedback has been hugely positive, says Griffith Business School’s Associate Professor Mark Brimble.

“Talks like this are a key part of building the financial planning profession and we need to continue to do more to disseminate information. It’s important those who work in the profession work closer with academics.”

The talks centred on how financial planning is of increasing importance to the lives of Australians, but the growing need to improve financial literacy and financial risk-taking, managing debt and measuring retirement savings was also explored.

The symposium highlighted the role which academic research can play in supporting the development of the financial planning profession, said Brimble.

He was impressed by the level of interest shown by industry members in what PhD students were presenting, as the detailed discussions held after the presentations could lead the industry forward.

“Regulations can only get us so far in terms of professionalism. It is the industry that needs to lead the regulations, rather than reacting to regulations as they come about.”

The symposium also heralded the launch of financial planning research grants for university academics, by the Financial Planning Education Council (FPEC) together with the FPA.

The grants are being offered to support the 15 higher education providers currently offering approved degrees that satisfy admittance requirements to the new certified financial planner programme.

FPA initiated seed funding in this inaugural round of grants as financial support from the profession is the “missing piece in the equation” of academic research, says FPA chief executive Mark Rantall.

“An approved degree is a requirement for all new practitioner members of the profession and support for academics in this discipline is recognised as an essential part. We believe the funding will just be the start of a strong investment in universities by the profession.”

The first round of the grants will be awarded in March next year, with application deadlines closing 8 December. Initially, projects are eligible to receive up to $5000.