AFA slams ISA for unreleased FoFA submission

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The Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) has slammed the ISA for not publicly releasing their FoFA amendments submission despite transparency being at the heart of the reform of financial services.

AFA CEO Brad Fox told Wealth Professional that he can’t understand why Industry Super Australia (ISA) as the “modern representation” of the union super fund movement and the “loudest critic” of the amendments, hasn’t publicly published the submission.

“Why not make it public so we can all be on the same page – what’s the motive behind them not doing that?” he asked. “This whole issue around financial advice is imbedded in trust and it’s very hard to trust things you can’t see – that’s called faith.”

But Robbie Campo, the deputy CEO of ISA, said it’s up to the Treasury whether or not submissions are published.

“We understand that Treasury will publish our submission, along with most other submissions made on the exposure draft in the near future,” she said.  “Our views on the proposed changes are no secret – we have over the last few years provided submissions and public commentary based on good public policy and sound evidence. We will continue to do so.”

Fox wasn’t buying it, and said the Treasury specifically asks the provider of the submission whether or not they’re happy for it to be made public at the time of making the submission.

It’s also interesting that the ISA have chosen to selectively give the submission to journalists, he said.

The AFA mentioned the ISA case as part of a scathing review of organisations and commentators with “vested interests” in superannuation savings who are undermining confidence in the FoFA amendments and putting the retirement lifestyles of baby boomers “at risk”.

“There have been stories with TV, radio, and print that have carried headlines and content along the lines of “best interest duty is being scrapped,” said Fox. “Best interest duty is not being scrapped, it’s being amended. Then there are other claims that the FoFA amendments will see the superannuation fees being gauged. Rather than opinions being expressed, they’re being portrayed as fact and it’s grossly inaccurate.”

He also criticised the tens of millions of dollars that industry super funds spend on commercials, advertising, and sponsorship, making them powerful lobby groups.

“It raises some questions for me. The call that they exist only to benefit members: Well I fail to see how the naming writes of a major football club provides net benefits to their members. It’s hard for me to join the dots,” Fox said.

And while it’s still too early to say whether the FoFA amendments being introduced to Parliament as of yesterday will be positive, if they stay true to the intent of the coalition statements they will be a good package, he said.


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