Calls grow for greater professionalism in banking

The Finance Sector Union is in favour of the increasing professionalism of financial advisers as highlighted in Thursday’s Banking Royal Commission.

Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer told the inquiry that the bank supports the introduction of a system of central registration for financial advisers.

The FSU agrees with many of Hartzer’s views but believes this focus on professionalisation should be extended beyond financial advice and implemented across the financial services sector.

However, the FSU remains concerned that an industry-led professionalisation program, without regulated parameters and oversight, may fail to deliver the genuine improvements professionalisation can bring to the industry and to customer outcomes.

“The Finance Sector Union agrees with Brian Hartzer that increasing the professionalisation of financial advice is an important measure to address problems in the sector.  This is an area in which there is a broad consensus from workers and management as to what needs to occur,” FSU National Secretary Julia Angrisano said.

“A process of professionalisation should not be limited to financial advisers.  It should extend to other bank and finance sector workers, including lending specialists, mortgage brokers, business bankers and others.”

In its submissions to the Royal Commission, Westpac said that oversight of conduct, qualifications and ongoing education obligations for financial advice should be the responsibility of a regulator.  

“The Commission has demonstrated that the current arrangements do not work,” Angrisano said.  

“It is important that the Commission engages with this issue.  An important step in restoring trust and confidence in the sector is to improve the skills and education of finance sector workers.”

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