Financial advice is not yet a profession, Mr Peter Kell, deputy chairman of the corporate regulator Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has said.
In his statement to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, Mr Kell said that while there are professionals in the industry, "we do not view the industry as a whole as having reached what would normally be regarded as the standards of a profession at this point in time".
One of ASIC's objectives is that "we move to a profession" and that "it's one of the reasons why the government has recently introduced reforms aimed at raising professional standards for the industry", reports Investor Daily citing Mr Kell.
In order to advance this agenda, he said multiple issues need to be addressed: standards regarding competency and qualifications, remuneration arrangements, conflicts of interest and a broad record of poor consumer outcomes.
"These indicate that we're not yet at a position where we have a profession," he said.
"I would also note that we don't have in this sector a single, if you like, dominant professional association. There are some associations which have taken a more forward looking approach to standards, but we certainly don't have a professional association of the sort that you get in other sectors such as medicine," he added.
In public hearings which began on 13 March, the Commission has heard of poor conduct by Australia’s major banks and financial planners, including forged documents, misselling insurance to people who can’t afford it, lying to regulators, and charging advice fees when no such service had been rendered.