New advice framework to enhance trust


By Megan Tran

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The Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) has launched a new industry framework around the incoming professional standards laws that has been designed in consultation with more than 500 financial advice industry stakeholders to help build customer trust.

Addressing the AFA 2017 National Adviser Conference on the Gold Coast yesterday, Beddoes Institute director Adam Tucker, who coordinated the research around the framework, said the aim had been to have the majority of stakeholders, including academics, consumer advocates, licensees and advisers, agree with most of the contents.

“The level of consensus saw more than 90 per cent of the panel agreeing with more than two thirds of the statements,” Tucker said.

He added that the key strength of the white paper was that it represented the views of many stakeholders in the sector when it came to what an adviser's ideal skill set should be under the new standards.

“Clients and advisers reinforced that these particular competencies are essential,” he said.

The research findings were then broken down into 36 master competencies and sub competencies across seven domains.

While technical skills and professionalism were rated by 100 per cent of the research participants as something that advisers needed to improve, 40 per cent also said self-development and connecting with people was key to an adviser's skill set.

Other components included effective communication, trust, resilience and adaptability.

Tucker added that learning the foundational knowledge covered in the framework would take advisers longer than the mandated professional year in the new standards, with different skills being acquired at different times of an adviser’s career.

Speaking at a media briefing following the launch, AFA general manager of member services, partnerships and campus Nick Hakes said the framework represented a unified industry voice when it came to what the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of an adviser should look like.

He said clients wanted more emphasis on empathy and being listened to and that soft skills would play a key role in the new educational framework to bring the sector into line with other service industries such as healthcare.

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