CPA Australia Joins Financial Services Market

Earlier this month, CPA Australia announced its establishment of a wholly-owned subsidiary, CPA Australia Advice Pty Ltd, which will be applying for an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) and an Australian Credit Licence (ACL) to operate as a financial services business.

According to its chief executive Alex Malley, “This means the operation of CPA Australia Advice will be consistent with Section 923A of the Corporations Act 2001 which allows us to use terms like ‘independent’, ‘impartial’ and ‘unbiased.’”

The professional body recognized the deterioration of the community’s trust in the financial planning sector in Australia over the years that’s why the board has determined to rebuild the confidence of the public by launching its own financial advice firm. “Too many everyday Australians have suffered as a result of poor financial advice driven by conflicts of interest,” said Malley.

The unveiling of CPA Australia Advice followed after the senior executives from the wealth divisions of Macquarie Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), National Australia Bank (NAB) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) were all called before a Senate last April to face questions over problems relating to integrity and standard in their financial planning. The company offers itself as a “trusted and independent” alternative to these bank-owned financial advice businesses that ruled the market and have been the subject of repeated warnings form the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

The company vows to provide high quality, independent and transparent financial advice to Australian consumers and will be consistent with APES 230, the professional standard for members engaged in the provision of quality and ethical financial planning services. It is set to become operational before 1 July 2016 after obtaining licences.

“No commissions, no hidden incentives, no asset based fees – just pure and transparent fee-for-service,” Malley said. “Our focus will be on what is right for the person seeking the advice – not what is financially beneficial for the adviser.”

While most people worry that the professional body will compete with its own members, CPA Australia assures that they are in fact strengthening our offer to members who are already in this sector, as this will provide us opportunities to provide new levels of support and resources. Importantly, CPA Australia Advice provides a new pathway for those members who have yet to enter this advice as they have been seeking an independent pathway to provide this advice.

Certified Practising Accountants (CPA) Australia is one of the largest global accounting bodies, having membership of more than 150,000 finance, accounting and business professionals in 120 countries, and being in the industry for almost 130 years. It is one of the legally recognised local professional accounting bodies, along with the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia (ICAA).

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