AIOFP amends constitution for TPB recognition

The AIOFP has sought approval from the TPB to be recognised as a professional association


By Daniel Paperny

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The Association of Independently Owned Financial Professionals (AIOFP) has amended its constitution to address its membership structure in a bid to receive recognition as a professional industry association from the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB).

Speaking to financialobserver, AIOFP executive director Peter Johnston said the organisation was taking the necessary steps towards receiving official recognition from the TPB as a professional association for independently owned advisers.

However, he said the AIOFP had to amend its constitutional framework given the original constitution did not meet the respective eligibility criteria due to its focus on non-institutionally aligned practices, rather than individual members themselves – an outcome from the organisation’s inception in 1998.

“When we first set up the AIOFP, the practice was the member, it wasn’t the individual and the pre-requisite to have the professional association status, particularly with the TPB, is to have a minimum of 500 members,” Johnston said.

“We’ve got 170 practices [as members] but we’ve changed our constitution and now we’ve got well over 500 advisers … we’ve put in place the required constitutional change to now have advisers and members and also just certain structural [changes] regarding board meetings and board elections.”

According to the TPB’s 2015-16 annual report, a total of 18 professional associations were officially recognised by the TPB as of 30 June last year.

One professional association application was rejected by the TPB for recognised tax agent status.

A spokesperson from the TPB said that while the board did not provide information about specific applicants, eligibility criteria for determining whether a professional association is accredited as a recognised tax financial adviser association comes from the Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009.

A key stipulation is that the applicant has at least 1000 voting members, of which at least 500 are registered tax financial advisers.

Johnston said the AIOFP had also moved to set up a disciplinary process for its members to comply with the eligibility criteria.

“We’re going down the professional association path … [and] what we’ve done over the last two years is totally revamp our constitution to make it comply with what the standards are - that’s around individual membership, having a disciplinary process, the board elections and all the issues around that,” he said.

He said it was important for members of professional associations to be homogenous to avoid a conflict of interest between competing parties of members and ensure the association can act in its members’ best interests.

Johnston added the feedback from the TPB had been positive to date with the AIOFP’s application for recognised association status expected to be approved.

The final decision will be made at a TPB committee meeting tomorrow.

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