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Spotlight on FINSIA councils and the volunteers driving the professionalism strategy

by Lewis Panther | 26 Jun 2019
FINSIA councils have been front and centre of much of the work done to help professionalise banking and financial services.

That 20 submissions were made on behalf of members during 2018 reflects the size of the challenges facing the industry.

But the volume of work carried out by volunteer members on FINSIA’s councils - who have helped formulate those submissions - is testament to their passion and tenacity in driving the sector forward in the right direction.
 
Sandra Bowley’s input to the Financial Advice and Services Council is typical of that desire to do the right thing, speak up and also give a bit back.

She has been associated with FINSIA’s since its predecessor - the Securities and Investment Association - started her on her own professionalism pathway many years ago.

“I've been involved with since I started in financial planning and did my first course,” she explained.

“I always felt very connected to the organisation. 

“So when this opportunity came up on the council I got involved because I'm passionate about keeping the industry strong and making it a profession.”

Of the submissions she has been involved in, FINSIA’s submission to the government about Elder Abuse, was especially satisfying.

She said: “I specialise in aged care and Centrelink and had the opportunity to give some input into Elder Abuse as part of a FINSIA submission.

“I felt that was critically important.

“I see so much of it and I don't believe that the government is addressing it at all.

“I've seen families taken in by nursing homes, ripping people off. 

“So it was good to get that submission done.

“I felt that I contributed quite a bit to that because I don't believe the subject of elder abuse gets enough coverage.

“When you realise the nursing homes are overcharging - and charging extra service fees for people who have dementia and can't use X or Y goes on and on - it shows we have to do something about it.”

Talking about the numerous submissions on the implementation of FASEA, Sandra said: “It directly affects me because I'm one of the older planners.

“I have been a part of the industry for 33 years and I'm coming up to my 74th birthday and I want to stay in financial planning.

“But I don't have a degree and I have no intention of getting one. So for me, my retirement date has come earlier than I wanted. 

“I've only been doing this 33 years. You would think that maybe I might know what I'm doing.

“There's a personal side to my interest. But I really don't believe that having a degree will give the general public better advice.

“My son is one. He is a very, very good financial planner, a CFP for many years. He worked with me for 12 years. He's got four children as a single income family. 

“He's now going to have to put all this money and time into getting a degree. There's so many different examples this, not just people of my vintage, but younger people with a lot of obligations. It's not a cheap exercise to go and get a degree.

“Because I deal in aged care, I'm dealing with people who don't have a lot of money. But it's a critical time in their life when they need advice desperately to try and make the right decisions about putting their loved ones into care. 

"Those who are doing planning will have to charge so much more to justify all the extra expense of the compliance, the degrees and everything else. I just think it's so short sighted.

As well as consulting for a larger firm, Bowley says she will teach to try to keep a level of expertise within the industry.

"People like me - with the help of FINSIA - can provide some education as well as mentoring which I think is really important. Otherwise all that expertise is just going to walk away.”

FINSIA chief executive Chris Whitehead F FIN said: “Sandra’s passion is what keeps FINSIA going, striving towards higher professional standards. That’s why it’s so great to have people like her on board.”

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