Jayson Forrest is the managing editor of Money & Life Magazine.
The 2018 FPA Professionals Congress featured 24 workshops, a leading line up of keynote speakers, a rundown of the latest FPA initiatives, and updates on the new FASEA standards and what they mean for practitioners.
With the financial planning profession under unprecedented pressure from the Royal Commission and proposed FASEA standards, over 1,300 delegates converged on Sydney over 21-23 November to receive the latest updates on their profession at the 2018 FPA Professionals Congress.
In welcoming delegates, FPA CEO Dante De Gori CFP said the Royal Commission had clearly highlighted the fact that “the need to raise professional standards was unquestionable”.
“It’s clear that the Royal Commission has uncovered systemic issues within the profession, and it’s clear that we need to change if we are to regain the trust of Australians,” he said. “The profession must evolve in order to make a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of all Australians.”
De Gori joined FASEA CEO, Stephen Glenfield, to discuss the latest draft legislative instruments on education standards and code of ethics.
Glenfield confirmed that FASEA had received over 800 submissions on the new standards, and while there had been a “lot of noise” around these standards, FASEA was looking at delivering “a well-balanced approach to its mandate with raising the bar on professional standards”.
With the consultation process on the proposed FASEA standards continuing until 14 December, FPA Head of Policy and Standards, Ben Marshan CFP confirmed that the legislative instruments released by FASEA at the time of Congress, contained 90-95 per cent of what the FPA had asked for.
Some of the highlights of the FASEA consultation period clarified by Glenfield included:
The work and training requirement for the Professional Year now requires a total of 1,600 hours of supervised practice in a 12-month period, including only 100 hours of structured training. That’s a change from the 800 hours of training previously specified.
All planners must pass the same exam by 1 January 2021. This exam will be the same exam for all planners, regardless of their specialisation.
The online exam will be done at a physical location, and a planner will be able to re-sit the exam more than once. The exam will be of 3.5 hours duration. It will be an open book exam with a mix of multiple choice and short answers.
The FPA Diploma of Financial Planning (DFP 1-8) has been identified as being eligible for the same credit as the Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning (ADFP).
FASEA will provide more clarity regarding how it will treat historical degrees, which includes 120 courses from 24 universities and education providers.
The FPA can apply for all CFP Certification Programs to receive a credit.
To support members with their transition to the new FASEA education standards, De Gori announced that the FPA would be launching a new online education hub – FPA Return to Learn. The online offering will provide practitioners with resources and support to help them navigate the new standards.
New report and online matching service
As part of this evolutionary process of the profession, De Gori also announced the launch of a new FPA Fintech Buyers Guide and Checklist, which is aimed at helping financial planners decide what technology solutions are best suited to their business, as well as tips for selecting the right technology partner to help improve the delivery of financial advice.
“The new guide is designed to help financial planning practices select the best fintech partner for their specific service proposition and client base. By going through the checklist, it will help prevent planning practice from wasting their time and money on technology that won’t meet their needs, or those of their clients,” De Gori said.
The 2018 Congress also heralded a change with the FPA Chair, with Marisa Broome CFP® taking over the role of Chair from Neil Kendall CFP®. In recognition of his service and outstanding contribution to the profession, including eight years on the FPA Board, Kendall was awarded FPA Life Membership.
In addressing members, Broome also acknowledged that FASEA’s new education and professional standards will be challenging, but only by embracing these changes can the profession move forward.
Broome also announced that the FPA is revamping its ‘Find a Planner’ directory. The new ‘Find a Planner’ online service, scheduled for release in early 2019, uses a UX-based research approach to match people online with a financial planner based on a personalised profile of money and life goals, not just location.
Other highlights of Congress included 24 workshop sessions, a Future2 evening at the National Maritime Museum, and the Women in Wealth breakfast, featuring guest speaker, Fenella Kernebone – Head of Curation, TEDx Sydney.
Kernebone encouraged attendees to ‘listen like you mean it’, which included sharing her top seven tips to become a great listener, which she believed were important in building trust with clients.
Stephen M.R. Covey led the line up of exceptional keynote speakers at Congress, where he spoke about ‘trust’ being ‘the new currency’ of the profession. His “three big ideas” on trust included:
Trust is an economic driver, not merely a social value;
Trust is the number one competency of leadership needed in the financial planning profession; and
Trust is a learnable skill.
Mitch Anthony, recognised globally for his pioneering work in life-centred planning, impressed delegates with his take on planners changing the centre of their value proposition from Return on Investment (ROI) to Return on Life (ROL).
According to Anthony, ROL is about helping clients achieve the best life possible with the money they have.
“We’re at an historic evolutionary point in financial planning,” Anthony said. “The central question is changing from: ‘Do I have enough money?’ to ‘Am I managing my money in a way that is improving my life?’
“The profession is changing from products to life centred planning – and that’s a good thing. So, as a planner, you have to decide if you’re going to be ROI or ROL?”
The FPA Professionals Congress also showcased an impressive line-up of keynote speakers, including Peter Costello, Finn Vicars, Alex Sheen, Michael Crossland and young poet, Solli Raphael.
Future2 and Awards
With over $1 million in Future2 Make the Difference! Grants being given to not-for-profit organisations over the past 10 years, Congress also acknowledged the participation of cyclists and hikers in this year’s Future2 Challenges.
Cyclist Stephen Ballinger CFP® was presented with the Jack Griffin Memorial Award for having fundraised the highest individual amount for the Future2 Wheel Classic, while IRESS took out the Susan Grice Honorary Award for fundraising the highest team amount. Michael Carmody CFP® received the Purple Pedal Award, which recognised his personal achievement in participating in this arduous event.
The Future2 Hiking Challenge Award went to Anne Graham CFP® LRS® and David Graham CFP® for their efforts in fundraising the highest individual amount together. This was the second consecutive year they have received this award.
The FPA also recognised the outstanding achievements of its members with a series of FPA Awards announced at Congress. The 2018 FPA Award winners were:
FPA CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® Professional of the Year Award – Michael Carmody CFP® of Viva Wealth