AFA Financial Adviser Magazine Vol 25. Issue 2.

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Vol 25. Issue Two. August 2021

An official publication for members of the Association of Financial Advisers

Join me, Nigel Colin, at Meet our new CEO Helen Morgan-Banda

on 21 and 22 September

AFA Webinars Thank you for supporting our 2021 AFA webinar series. This year we will continue to bring you the latest insights and industry know-how from industry experts and adviser practitioners. Every webinar is AFA CPD accredited. All webinars are available on-demand at

We welcome your suggestions for webinar topics or speakers – get in touch at 2

The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two

Vol 25. Issue Two. August 2021


An official publication for members of the Association of Financial Advisers

Contents Dear Members, Many of us anticipated a brighter 2021 for our world and our great advice profession, yet what has changed? Policy changes seem systemic. Regulators just say - it’s simply academic. We have a never-ending pandemic. No wonder mental health issues are endemic! Despite the ongoing issues many advisers have shown strong resilience and some have pleasingly thrived. Since joining the AFA several months ago, I have been inspired by the collective support demonstrated by our AFA team, Communities of Practice volunteers, and corporate partners, to help those in the Advice profession. Be it guidance in preparing for the FASEA exam, webinars on how to implement change, or Phil’s relentless advocating for advice with Government and regulators, the efforts of many is heartening. Whilst it has again been a challenging year, there’s also a lot to celebrate including the AFA’s 75th anniversary. Next month at our AFA Evolve Conference 2021 we’ll be acknowledging many longstanding members, presidents and CEOs that have made the AFA the great community and the voice for Advice that it is today. I hope you can join us for the virtual Conference sessions and then celebrate and socialise at one of our state-based events on 22nd September (COVID restrictions allowing). Finally, if you have any suggestions for future editions of this magazine, please email me any time at Best wishes and stay safe, Candice Spence General Manager, Marketing  AFA_Voice


4 Welcome to the new AFA CEO, Helen Morgan-Banda 10 Meet our new AFA CEO – Helen Morgan-Banda 14 Policy and Education update Advice Strategy


Encouraging customers to protect their physical and mental health during COVID-19 27 Your Wills Toolkit, supporting your client’s financial wellness 28 Not all Property Funds are created equal

Business Growth

19 What’s the PI Story? 29 What’s your path? 40 Train your brain to improve your profits Innovation

13 Evolving insurance products to ensure long-term sustainability

30 More than ticking the box: Using Annual Consent to reshape the client experience

32 Why licensees need to play a bigger game Communities of Practice

31 FASEAnxiety: Prior preparation prevents poor performance 38 Handing over the reigns Community & Marketplace

33 AFA Foundation Grants, making a big difference in small communities across Australia

36 AFA Foundation, partnering with AIA Australia and OnePath Life, to make a meaningful difference to people in need 39 Is your content your marketing nemesis? 42 AFA key dates for 2021

Member Services

24 Member Services update Events

22 AFA National Conference 2021 – a time for celebration, collaboration and education

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Professionalism // BY MICHAEL NOWAK AFA National President

Welcome to the new AFA CEO, Helen Morgan-Banda  @AFA_Pres

To start off this edition of the AFA “Financial Adviser” magazine, I am delighted to welcome our new AFA CEO, Helen Morgan-Banda who commenced her role on 2 August 2021. The AFA Board, in response to the challenges being faced by the AFA and its members, made the decision to look more broadly for a new leader, including considering candidates from outside Australia. Key to our decision to appoint Helen, was her experience as an accomplished CEO of member associations. Most recently she was the CEO of the Law Society of New Zealand (which has 15,000 members) and prior to that she was the CEO of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners. In these roles, Helen has managed significant disruption akin to that being experienced by financial advisers and she has demonstrated a deep understanding of the issues being faced by our members. She has an acute understanding of the AFA culture and values and her skill set complements that of our existing team that the AFA Board believe will enhance our value to our members. Welcome Helen! The AFA looks forward to our next phase with you at the helm. We have made it through the end of financial year but not COVID just yet! Who would have thought that mid-way through 2021, parts of Australia would be again in extended lockdown. This creates a sense of familiarity or déjà vu, but also added complications to an already testing environment. As we enter the second half of the year, I wanted to reaffirm the AFA’s priorities for the remainder of 2021 1. Supporting advisers through 2021 and the FASEA exam. The AFA would like to have as many advisers as possible take the exam and is here to support all those who need a helping hand. Encouragingly, the Government has recently drafted legislation that will provide an extension into 2022 for those advisers who attempt the exam twice before the end of 2021.


The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two

2. Supporting AFA communities and the wellbeing of our members. In these challenging times, it is critical that we support one another, so please reach out if you need support, and be there for one another. 3. Advocate for sensible reforms. As the Government introduces the last of the Royal Commission Recommendations, the AFA is committed to pursuing a more workable regulatory regime for financial advice.

AFA National Hybrid Conference – Not to be missed! In just a few more weeks, the AFA will hold our flagship event for the year, our National Conference. To manage the COVID challenge, we are running a hybrid event this year to deliver quality content nationally and provide localised events. The AFA Conference will provide members with a quality adviser driven agenda focussing on current issues. Already announced are Minister Jane Hume and new ASIC Chair Joseph Longo in his first announced engagement with advisers. There are also 30 CPD hours on offer, which is very handy! It is with regret that in a period such as this, we are not able to facilitate a face-to-face conference and engage personally with members. I hope you make the time to join us, and COVID permitting, attend your local state conference event, and to engage in our state based Great Advice Awards. As we prepare for Conference and the celebration of 75 years of an authentic vibrant community, I have been engaging with past leaders of the AFA. I wanted to share this quote from Dennis Bateman, former National President, on what the AFA means to him.

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The AFA provides a member with a sense of community, inclusion, moral support during the good times and the difficult times. It is important for members to know that someone is out there batting for them on issues that are of importance to them and they are not alone in their endeavours to deal with the everchanging landscape and moving of the goal posts of regulations that govern the financial advice world.

As your current President, I assure you that the AFA team strives to support our members and the advice community as we navigate our way through this period of mass disruption. We have a fine history of past leaders to emulate, and we aspire to continue their legacy. Let’s be proud of 75 years of the AFA!

AFA Advocacy 2021 The prime focus of the AFA’s efforts this year has been to represent our members as the remaining Royal Commission recommendations reach legislation phase. The AFA’s priority has been to make this legislation as practical as possible for the advisers and minimise the impact on your already compliance heavy businesses. As an adviser, I understand the impacts of the continued legislative barrage on financial advice. I thought it fitting to provide a summary of the work we have been doing

3. We are currently engaging with the Government on the upcoming Single Disciplinary Body, Breach Reporting and Compensation Scheme of Last Resort legislation – the final of the Royal Commission legislation. Our focus is to achieve a sensible approach to these pieces of legislation and limit the costs imposed upon advice businesses and ultimately consumers. 4. Of course, in 2022 when the Quality of Advice review is reporting, which now will include the LIF review, we will ramp up our continued focus on our advocacy for life insurance. The AFA is continually engaging with Government and the Regulators on life insurance issues including the APRA intervention on IDII and the new income protection product design, significant premium increases, and the LIF review structure. We are talking to both sides of politics and educating them about how crucial a vibrant life insurance profession is for Australian society, the advice process, our challenges and the importance of the maintenance of life insurance commissions. We are also advocating for choice for consumers in how they pay for life insurance advice. Small business advisers must be able to cover the costs to provide advice, otherwise Australia risks not being adequately protected. Also, $12 billion in life insurance claims paid in a year is something both advisers and life insurers should be proud of!

1. Life insurance claims handling – at the end of last year the Government passed legislation limiting the ability to manage claims to certain persons, of which advisers were not included. As a proud life insurance adviser, who takes pride in claims management for my clients, this infuriated myself and many of my peers. The AFA lobbied until this issue was rectified via regulations to allow financial advisers and their staff to manage clients' claims. 2. Annual renewal legislation – upon review of the draft legislation the AFA discovered that the legislation required advisers to provide FDSs a day after the FDS period ended, which was not possible. We lobbied the Government to ensure that this was rectified, to ensure client ongoing fee agreements would not be jeopardised and unnecessarily terminated, and we were successful in an outcome

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Working together with other Associations

Member advocacy and promoting advice

In recent months, there has been reporting about a lack of industry collaboration. Whilst I am of the view that greater collaboration between associations is positive and is something that we are continually seeking to build upon, I wanted to provide some insights into how the industry and associations are currently collaborating.

We are hearing from members of the importance of bringing a structured unified message about the value of advice to both the Politicians and the broader community. We hear you and we are working to empower our members to help spread these messages. Keep an eye out for our Member Advocacy Pack and grassroots engagement.

The AFA and the FPA have been working together since mid 2019 representing life risk advice formally with the AFA / FPA Joint Life Insurance Taskforce and we will continue to as the next chapter of LIF plays out. Following the Royal Commission recommendation on life insurance, both associations agreed it was necessary to represent a united front on risk advice.

In these challenging times that financial advisers are going through, I am continually hearing the value of “community” for advisers. This was demonstrated in a recent webinar that I participated in with Dr Adam Fraser who partnered with AIA and Deakin University on the Australian Financial Advisers Wellbeing Report. The report detailed the mental strain that the incessant reforms are placing on financial advisers – compliance and admin fatigue, roadblocks to meeting the needs of clients, new challenges in providing advice, and even burnout, stress and depression. The report is a challenging read, as was the session with Dr Fraser, but a key finding was that advisers who turn to others, have someone to communicate with and those that embrace community are in a much better frame of mind and are coping better.

In the risk space, both the AFA and FPA have worked with the major insurers through the CALI Group (Choice and Access to Life Insurance), which has done important research and educated both sides of Government on the value of life insurance. These groups are most definitely on the same side working for advice and the retention of commissions. The AFA works closely with the other associations, and we will continue to do so. Association collaboration is commonplace in finding common ground on critical industry issues. We have all played a role is pushing the Government to understand the regulatory and cost burden of the advice process and the excessive and unnecessary costs associated. That is why ASIC is undertaking its CP 332 Promoting access to affordable advice for consumers review and this is the first sign of the pendulum swinging back. There is hope!

Please, if you are struggling, turn to someone in your AFA community, be it a peer, dealer group representative, or your AFA State committee. We are here for each other, and what matters most is that financial advisers around Australia make it through these troubling times. Finally, I would like to thank the AFA Board and staff who have lifted whilst the AFA has been in search for our new CEO to ensure that we continue to support and represent our members. In particular, I must acknowledge Phil Anderson who has stepped in to perform both the Acting CEO role and his existing Policy and Advocacy role and never missed a beat. Phil sincerest thanks from myself, the Board and our members for your dedication. Stay safe. Michael Nowak AFA National President

WA State Director, Stephen Knight, meets Australia’s newest Senator, WA Senator, Ben Small.


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1 We surveyed nearly 13,000 Australians in conjunction with , to better understand the benefits of financial advice. Almost 9 out of 10 respondents who have received advice believe it frees them from financial worry and stress2. At IOOF, we believe in the value of financial advice.

Important Information: © IOOF Holdings Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Bridges Financial Services Pty Ltd (ABN 60 003 474 977, AFSL 240837), Consultum Financial Advisers Pty Ltd (ABN 65 006 373 995, AFSL 230323), Lonsdale Financial Group Ltd (ABN 76 006 637 225, AFSL 246934), Millennium3 Financial Services Pty Ltd (ABN 61 094 529 987, AFSL 244252), RI Advice Group Pty Limited (ABN 23 001 774 125, AFSL 238429) and Shadforth Financial Group Limited (ABN 27 127 508 472, AFSL 318613) are members of the IOOF group (comprising IOOF Holdings Ltd and its subsidiaries). 1. The True Value of Advice research study of 12,643 Australians was undertaken in July 2020 in conjunction with CoreData Pty Ltd. 2. 88% of the 11,615 advised clients surveyed. 21052670AB



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IN YOUR CLIENTS’ MOMENTS OF NEED, WE’RE HERE. During 2020, we paid over $2.2 billion* in claims across our Retail, Group and Direct Insurance policies.


The Financial Adviser 25. Australia Issue Two *Includes payments madeVol by AIA Limited and the life insurance business previously known as The Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society Limited.

Advice Strategy // BY MICHAEL DOWNEY General Manager Retail Distribution Partnerships, MLC Life Insurance

Encouraging customers to protect their physical and mental health during COVID-19 There’s no denying COVID-19 has re-emphasised the important role life insurance plays in protecting Australians and their families in times of crisis. When someone takes out a policy, they’re given a promise for life – that their life insurer will be there for them when they need it most. Since the beginning of the pandemic, this has never been truer. It has put a spotlight on the importance of good, life-long financial advice. Let me share an example. MLC Life Insurance assessed and paid two claims for customers who were hospitalised after contracting COVID-19. Both were in intensive care for 30 days and needed ventilation to survive. Thankfully, they had critical illness cover to protect them, following engagement with their financial adviser.

appointment experienced a reduction to mild or normal levels after just three months using the service. It is also helping to prevent employee absence from work. While 50% of participants are off work due to their symptoms at intake, 40% of those return to full-time or part-time work by the three-month follow up.

Both customers were also able to use their benefit which is payable when a person is in intensive care and requires continuous mechanical ventilation for 10 days. This demonstrates the flexibility and value of critical illness cover; it’s more than simply cover for strokes and heart attacks. Customers with these products can have peace of mind knowing it gives them financial security during uncertain times.

MLC Life Insurance encourages customers to get the COVID-19 vaccine once they’re eligible. This will protect them and the wider community from the severity of the virus. Doing so won’t invalidate their life insurance policies or impact the ability to make a future claim.

Considering the mental health impact too Of course, it’s not just the physical health of customers that COVID-19 has impacted, but also their mental health. There’s been a huge demand for mental health services as many Australians struggle to cope with emotional and financial pressures. Like most insurers, we expect to see an increase in the incidence and duration of claims relating to mental health in the future. Worryingly, we know that 54% of people with mental illness don’t access any treatment.1 This is worsened by delayed treatment due to serious problems in detection and accurate diagnosis. At MLC Life Insurance, we’ve seen double the number of customers access our Best Doctors’ Mental Health Navigator service to get an expert, second opinion for a mental health condition. The service is virtual, so it continues despite coronavirus-related travel restrictions. Black Dog Institute, Facts & Figures about Mental Health, 2020.


According to our data, 76% of customers who had severe symptoms of depression at their first

How vaccines fit into the mix

Importantly, there are no specific exclusions for making a claim if a customer suffers an adverse reaction to a vaccine approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. In addition, the life insurance cover of customers who choose not to receive the free and voluntary COVID-19 vaccines will be unaffected. The role of life insurers, with the support of financial advisers, is to protect our customers financially. However, we also have a bigger role to play in improving their health and wellbeing through the services we provide. Whether it’s by encouraging vaccination, giving them confidence in their policy terms, or helping them access mental health support services, we can ensure they’re better able to get through these tough times. Our industry is a noble one, and the role financial advisers play in both creating and protecting the wealth of thousands of Australians should never be underestimated or forgotten. I thank you for continuing to provide quality advice to your customers especially during these challenging times. Learn more: media/mlc-life-insurance-encourages-customersto-get-the-covid-19-vaccine

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Professionalism // BY HELEN MORGAN-BANDA Chief Executive Officer, AFA

Meet our new AFA CEO – Helen Morgan-Banda The AFA Board has appointed a new CEO, Helen Morgan-Banda, and with The Financial Adviser about to issue its second 2021 edition, we took the opportunity to chat with Helen as she readied herself to take up the role on 2 August 2021. 1. Welcome Helen and tell us what attracted you to the CEO role? The chance to make a difference to the professional lives of advisers, the clients they serve and, through that, the broader Australian economy. I am somebody who likes new opportunities, especially those focused on making things better for the people involved and improving overall outcomes. When I read the job advertisement, I could see the AFA CEO role would offer me those things. I have learned a good deal in my past two CEO roles about supporting members dealing with regulatory compliance pressures, including very experienced members having to do additional education and high-pressure exams, and I could see how that experience was transferable. When I started delving into the financial adviser landscape in Australia, I could see a lot of commonalities in terms of the pressure, and stress, being created by increasing regulation and related compliance requirements for individual advisers and the businesses they work in and operate. That was the initial attraction. What I found as I entered the recruitment process was a group of passionate leaders looking to the future and how they can support the AFA and its members to stay in the profession and continue to be successful. Through the formal interview process and subsequent briefing sessions, I have been able to get to know the President, Michael Nowak and the Board. I’ve been impressed by their energy, enthusiasm, and determination to support members through what continues to be a period of disruption and change. Your Board and the many members involved at State level and in Communities of Practice are doing great work, supported by a committed


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leadership team, who I had the pleasure to meet virtually prior to commencing. Everyone is so committed and determined to support members and make a difference to the profession. I can see the AFA and the financial advice industry and the professionals who work in it are still navigating through a period of great change. What enthused me was the commitment articulated in your Vision 2020 about embracing the new world, transforming your thinking and being united and unwavering in your mission to guide Australia to a better financial future. That is a journey I want to be part of. Michael has welcomed me into the fold, and I can’t wait to get started in the role. 2. The number of advisers has been reducing, largely in response to regulatory changes – what are your thoughts about helping members through the transition process. Supporting members is something I am passionate about. It is the core purpose of professional membership organisations and will be my number one focus as CEO. When people commit to a profession and a life of service to their clients, they often consider the work they do to be a vocation and a source of identity; and it needs to be seen as such. The AFA has been tireless in their efforts to support members through this period of intense transformation. In terms of assistance with the exam, we have focussed upon practical steps such as exam preparation and getting better feedback after examination attempts, and I will be picking up the reins and continuing that work with the aim of getting more advisers through the exam. At the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners, I used to ask our older doctors about their intentions on retirement, questioning whether they could just give a little bit more to their patients and their

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communities, while we brought more GPs into the profession – not forever, but those few extra years from a large group of practitioners can make a massive difference. I can see the same applies to the advice profession and I know this is a message the AFA has been sharing. The other part of this is providing well-being support. I was so pleased to learn about the AFA Care support service, which is in place for members, your families, and your staff. Reaching out for help is critical and I will be doing all I can to strengthen this area of the AFA community. 3. As an outsider how will you get to know our industry and profession? This is such a great question, and will no doubt be one many members will be asking when they learn of my appointment. I am not completely new to financial services having been Head of Corporate Affairs for ANZ New Zealand, the dominant bank in the NZ market, right through the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). I was also contracted by AMP Group as GM Corporate Affairs during the merger of AMP and AXA in NZ. The learning curve will still be steep, and I am committed to meeting as many of you as I can, and learning as much as I can, as I embrace this new role. Although I know it hasn’t been the case with the AFA, it’s also worth knowing that it is pretty common these days to have non-practitioners lead membership organisations. In New Zealand I am part of a group of CEOs leading professional bodies and only one of this group is a practitioner member of their professional body. It’s the same for medical colleges in Australasia. The emerging model seems to be a professional CEO partnered with an involved Board comprised mainly of members of the profession. Having an independent director, as the AFA does, brings another independent lens and is considered good practice. 4. How will you be effective as an advocate with Government and regulators when you come from outside of the industry? Again, the key here is about creating a successful partnership with other leaders and with the AFA’s General Manager – Policy & Professionalism Phil Anderson. It’s clear Phil has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the relevant legislation and regulations, which is hugely valued.

At my recent farewell from the New Zealand Law Society, its President said of me: “You are incredibly savvy at political comms. Adept at the art of public speaking. You know how to land the tricky messages with Government.” I may be new to the Australian system and will have to establish my credibility. Having worked for a New Zealand Prime Minister and achieved major change with several senior Cabinet Ministers in my past two CEO roles, I back myself to form a formidable team with Phil and the AFA Board. 5. What are your thoughts about the value of financial advice? The evidence speaks for itself. The Adviser Ratings’ report on the 2020 Australian Financial Landscape highlights the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the psyche of Australians and their money management, which has led to a noticeable increase in demand for advice. The “True Value of Advice” report, commissioned by IOOF and undertaken by CoreData, supports this, stating those who have received advice are “fundamentally better off than unadvised consumers in a range of both tangible and less tangible measures – regardless of gender, age and wealth”. On a personal level, I’ve had the benefit of having professional advice from financial advisers since my late 20s. This was initially with a wonderful woman who was part of AMP and more recently with a small financial advisory business in Wellington, New Zealand, and I know how valuable that advice has been to me and my family. What we all have to work through is how to increase awareness of this value so that consumers will invest in getting high-quality financial advice, believing it’s value for money over time. At the same time, there must be a recognition that people have varying abilities to pay, and solutions need to be developed that allow more people to access good quality advice. 6. Any last thoughts? I want to thank your President Michael Nowak and the Board for selecting me as your next CEO. I will be 100% committed to leading the AFA team with energy and enthusiasm, meeting as many of you as I can, virtually and in real life, and doing my absolute best to support you, as well as represent you professionally and with impact.

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Innovation // BY JO HETHERINGTON Head of Financial Health, TAL

Evolving insurance products to ensure long-term sustainability To ensure long-term sustainability for the life insurance industry, it is essential that we bring secure and optimistic thinking and welcome the opportunity to progress in the future, for the betterment of customers and the industry as a whole. For a number of years across the industry, we have seen the Income Protection product struggle to remain profitable and sustainable and this has had an impact on premiums and affordability.

changed, however due to more and more generous definitions having been introduced, it has moved away from sound insurance principles making them increasingly unaffordable.

With this concerning trend, it’s no surprise that advisers will be feeling a level of unease that the changes to the products may not meet client needs in the future. More than that, some may be feeling concerned that they will no longer be able to put forward products that are in their clients’ best interests. For advisers to move forward in the industry with confidence, there is a key role for life insurers to reinforce their commitment to supporting advisers for the better during this time of change.

The industry is moving towards a more sustainable future

Adopting a customer-focused approach during the design process Life insurers are being relied on to ensure customers have appropriate cover and, in order to meet core customer needs, the Income Protection product must offer stable pricing and long-term affordability. At TAL this has been a two year process and we have had strong and capable product development professionals working on our solution right across the value chain, from claims to underwriting, to health services, distribution, and adviser education. In my role as Head of Financial Health, I was able to use my background in financial health and wellbeing to ensure the design process adopted a customer-focused approach which kept the first principles of what this product is designed to do at the forefront of the solution.

https://www. wp-content/ uploads/2018/07/ Final_Underinsurancein-Australia-2017infographic.pdf 1

I have been able to leverage my industry claims and underwriting experience to inform a customercentric design focussing on compensating for financial loss. We’ve worked hard to ensure our disability definitions are fit-for-purpose, and clear enough to provide certainty about payment. This industry-wide change program has given us the opportunity to make things better and simpler for both customers and advisers. It’s important to remember that the purpose of the product has not

To help the industry move forward in a positive manner, TAL has developed a product solution that is both compliant with APRA’s requirement and has regard to the Actuaries Institute Reference Product, however our thinking has also gone deeper than that. According to Rice Warner1 only 33% of working Australians have income protection insurance. Our product design process at TAL has given us the confidence that the industry will have a strong future. Firstly, it’s becoming more relevant. That means removing the windfall scenarios and going back to the basics to meet the holistic needs of our customers encompassing their financial, mental, and physical wellness. Secondly, it’s becoming more affordable. We know that getting product design right means a price we can be more confident to deliver long-term affordability and stability. And thirdly, it’s becoming more available to more Australians. The renewed Income Protection market will increase trust and awareness and hopefully engage the Australian population that are currently without insurance cover.

The future is exciting To protect the ability of the industry to meet its obligations to customers, financial advisers, and the broader Australian community, it’s essential that we get the product design right to ensure an Income Protection insurance market that is sustainable for the long term. Insurers have a role to play in supporting advisers through this period so that the financial advice industry can continue to be one of providing certainty and I look forward to seeing what the future holds.

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Professionalism // BY PHIL ANDERSON General Manager Policy & Professionalism, AFA

Policy and Education update Policy and Advocacy Summary Regulatory reform in 2021 has continued at an intense pace with much of the focus on the finalisation of the Royal Commission recommendations, which has also flowed into an impact upon the FASEA exam. 2021 has already been a very big year for ongoing regulatory reform with the new Annual Renewal regime commencing, however there is much more to come before the end of this year. Please read this article to understand what is still on the radar. In particular, look out for a very big month in October, with 5 key reforms kicking off. The financial adviser market has continued to decline in the first half of 2021, with the total number of financial advisers on the Financial Adviser Register (FAR) falling below 20,000 for the first time on record and continuing to decline through to July 2021, with less than 19,500 advisers now on the FAR. This is a reduction of over 9,000 from the peak in January 2019. We are expecting a further decline over the remainder of 2021, however the FASEA exam deadline extension into 2022, may reduce the pace of the decline.


The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two

Single Disciplinary Body, FASEA and the Exam In April 2021, the Government released draft legislation for the introduction of a Single Disciplinary Body (SDB), calling for submissions from interested stakeholders. In the AFA submission, our primary recommendation was to narrow the scope of the SDB, so that it was focussed upon serious misconduct and not just a large and unmanageable list of minor and administrative matters. In the absence of a substantial refinement of the scope of matters considered, it is inevitable that the SDB would prove to be extremely complex and expensive, with the cost flowing through to financial advisers. We also sought a clean and complete break from the TASA regime, rather than the proposal to load some tax (financial) adviser requirements into the Corporations Act. The introduction of the SDB legislation (Better Advice Bill) into the Parliament on 24 June 2021 included a big surprise, that was unrelated to the SDB, with the proposal that the legislation would

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allow the Government to provide an extension to the deadline for completion of the FASEA exam into 2022 for anyone who has attempted the exam at least twice before the end of December 2021. The other changes included greater flexibility for ASIC to consider some matters, rather than sending them to a Financial Services and Credit Panel. The Senate Economics Committee has held an Inquiry into the Better Advice Bill, and the AFA presented to that committee on 16 July 2021. We are still calling for significant changes to tighten the focus and to reduce the complexity and cost.

FASEA Code of Ethics

Following the release of the May 2021 FASEA Exam results, some key facts emerged, including 14,850 financial advisers having passed the exam. With 16,700 advisers having attempted the exam, it revealed that there are probably at least 4,000 existing advisers who are yet to attempt the exam, and 1,200 who have had one attempt, however, have not yet come back for a second attempt.

Royal Commission Recommendations

With the proposed FASEA exam extension being announced in late June, just prior to the close of registration for the July 2021 exam, it was clear that due to the three-month rule between exam attempts that anyone who was yet to attempt the exam, would be unable to have two attempts before the end of 2021. FASEA then announced that they would remove the threemonth rule so that anyone who sits and fails the September exam will be permitted to sit the November exam, meaning that everyone will have the chance to access the option of the extension into 2022. The AFA had been advocating with the Government for any adviser who had failed to pass the exam by the end of 2021, to have a grace period of 6 months to exit the profession. We spoke to the Minister about the consequences for someone who sits the November exam and gets their fail result a week before Christmas 2021. We are pleased that the Government has responded. We have long advocated for more Exam support from FASEA and increased feedback for those who do not pass. We have also for a long time encouraged advisers to access all available resources. In early July 2021, we arranged a webinar to allow members to hear from FASEA, Kaplan, the TAL Risk Academy and the Knowledge Shop about their Exam resources and tips. The recording of this webinar is available on the AFA website. We continue to encourage advisers to do everything they can to pass the exam in 2021, rather than rely on this potential extension.

In response to questions provided on notice after a Senate Estimates hearing in March 2021, and in their opening presentation to the June 2021 Senate Estimates hearing, FASEA acknowledged that they had received a lot of feedback with respect to Standard 3 of the Code of Ethics on banning all conflicts of interest and duty and were reconsidering it. We are pleased to see that they are thinking about this, and hope that they will amend it before they cease at the end of 2021.

Three key elements of the Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response) Bill 2020, including the new breach reporting requirements, reference checking obligations and claims handling licensing have progressed through the issue, or consultation on the regulations or through ASIC regulatory guidance. Financial advisers did manage to get a clean exemption from the claims handling licensing requirements, which was a rare piece of good news. The final breach reporting regulation is providing some relief for the financial advice sector with some exemptions, including FDS related matters, however it will involve a substantial increase in matters that will need to be reported to ASIC from 1 October 2021. ASIC issued the reference checking protocol on 20 July 2021, in advance of the new mandatory reference checking regime coming into play from 1 October 2021. The Annual Renewal and client consent form requirements commenced on 1 July 2021. The majority of the complexity is in the requirements for the transition year, along with the inability to change the anniversary day in future years. Like much of the Royal Commission legislation, the consultation has been poor, and the implementation has been rushed. In late April we discovered what was a fundamental flaw in the legislation, where advisers were expected to provide an FDS on the day after the end of the FDS period during the transition year. After extensive consultation with ASIC, Treasury and the Government, a solution was delivered allowing advisers to estimate the fees for the last two months of the year. This held up the release of ASIC guidance, which was only available two weeks before the new regime began. Where reforms are rushed, unintended consequences arise and there are elevated levels of uncertainty and confusion. Another outcome of this rush is the lack of standardisation with client consent forms across the product providers.

The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two   15

Professionalism //

Initial feedback from the marketplace is that the new FDS and client consent process is proving to be labour intensive and disruptive for clients. The feedback from existing clients is that signing multiple documents is confusing and disturbing. They can only wonder why things are so complex and why the cost of advice is going up. It is a pity that the Government do not listen more to the interests and expectations of the people who matter the most – existing clients. On 17 July 2021, the Government issued a proposal paper and draft legislation for a Compensation Scheme of Last Resort. We had expected this scheme to be broadly based, with funding coming from multiple sectors of the banking and financial services industry. In the end, only five areas have been included in the scope, with four being in the intermediary/distribution space, along with credit providers. Disturbingly, financial advisers are seemingly expected to pick up three quarters of the cost of this new scheme.

Increase in the ASIC Funding Levy with more to come ASIC released their projection for the 2020/21 ASIC Funding Levy on 23 July 2021, suggesting that the levy will be $1,500 per licensee plus $3,138 per adviser. This increase of 29% on the 2019/20 levy, comes on top of the 112% increase for the 2019/20 year. We are very concerned by this increase, which has resulted from an additional $15m spend on financial advisers from $56m in 2019/20 to $71m in 2020/21. We are also concerned that there seems to be a lack of recognition of the continuing decline in financial adviser numbers, with the $3,138 based upon 21,308 advisers which we know is substantially overstated. Since the ASIC Funding Levy first came in for the 2017/18 year ($934 per adviser), it has increased firstly to $1,142 in 2018/19, then $2,426 in 2019/20 and now a projected $3,138 for 2020/21. That is an increase of 236% in just three years. We will express our concerns on this with both the Government and ASIC. The big driver of this increase has been the rise in spend on enforcement activity. We have been told that advisers will benefit from cost recovery for this enforcement activity, where the case is won in the court, however we lack any sense of transparency on which matters and what the recovery might be.


The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two

We do need to be conscious that there is a risk of further increases in future years, particularly as we see the Single Disciplinary Body and the Compensation Scheme of Last Resort commence, and the costs start to flow through. We will continue to speak up on our concerns about the ASIC Funding Levy and the need for changes to the methodology and improved transparency.

APRA Intervention in the Income Protection Market The next phase of the APRA IDII intervention measures come into force in October 2021 and include limitations on the definition of income at risk, and income replacement ratio caps. In May 2021 APRA announced a deferral of the final requirement for policies to be refreshed every 5 years (occupation and pastimes underwritten again, but not health) until October 2022. The Actuaries Institute have now issued their final recommendations on IDII and a Reference Product, which we can expect to influence product design going forward. The life insurers are starting to release their new products in the lead up to 1 October 2021.

What we expect for the remainder of 2021 The remainder of 2021 will be an intense period for regulatory change, with five key reforms commencing in October (Breach Reporting, Reference Checking, Design and Distribution Obligations, APRA Intervention Phase 2 and a new Complaints Handling regime) along with the finalisation of the consultation on the Single Disciplinary Body and the Compensation Scheme of last Resort. At the same time there will still be many of the adviser community trying to pass the exam and continuing to complete their FASEA compliant study requirements. We wish good luck for those doing the exam. We can only hope that as we go into 2022, the environment will settle down and we can all start to be more positive about the future of financial advice. As always, we welcome your feedback and input on policy matters by emailing us at


Eligible courses for discount (FASEA approved courses)

Eligible AFA membership categories (Membership must be current)

Contact and enrolment details

To enrol, contact Deakin at 03 9244 5009

Cynthia Shannon

To request an enrolment form, contact AFA at

(NB: FEE Help only applies to enrolments in a full qualification, not single subject enrolments)

• Students using FEE HELP

• New Students

• Existing Students

Discount can be applied to:

Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning (including single unit enrolments and the FASEA Bridging Course subjects)

Postgraduate courses and single subject enrolments (including Intensive Study Option for the FASEA Bridging Course subjects) offered within the Faculty of Business and Law All




$2,932.50 (full qualification) $3,280.15 (single subject)

$3,859 per subject (for single subject enrolments)

$3,450 per subject (when completing a full qualification)


Discounted price per subject

RRP per subject


As at January 2021




To enrol, contact Diana Bugarcic (Course Coordinator) 02 9598 6280

discount does not apply)

 (NB: When using FEE Help,


Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning (including single unit enrolments and the FASEA Bridging Course subjects)

AFA Member Discounts from Education Providers

Kaplan Course Advisers

To enrol, contact for the discount code.


Master of Financial Planning; Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning; Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning (including single unit enrolments and the FASEA Bridging Course subjects)



Kaplan Professional

Professionalism //

The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two   17

How can I help my clients understand their options more efficiently? We know how critical it is for you to help your clients understand their Life Insurance options quickly in these changing times. With BT LifeCENTRAL+, you can now obtain online quotes for alterations to most in force policies in less than 10 minutes. It’s part of our commitment to improving our service and support to you. To find out more, talk to your Business Development Manager or call 1800 025 127.

The Issuer is Westpac Life Insurance Services Limited ABN 31 003 149 157 AFSL 233728 (WLIS), except Term Life as Superannuation and Income Protection as Superannuation which are issued by BT Funds Management Limited ABN 63 002 916 458 AFSL 233724 (BTFM) as trustee of the Retirement Wrap ABN 39 827 542 991. WLIS and BTFM are wholly owned subsidiaries of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 (the Bank). The Bank does not guarantee the insurance. This information does not take into account you or your clients’ personal circumstances. Terms and conditions, and limitations and exclusions apply. Read the Product Disclosure Statement to see if this insurance is right for you or your clients. BT00429 0721

Care that revolves around you and your clients. With MetLife 360Health, get access to expert medical support and guidance when it’s needed most – at no extra cost. We’ve partnered with market leading virtual health provider, Teladoc Health, to deliver advisers and their clients a range of easy to access health services online: • • • •

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To find out more, speak to your local MetLife BDM or visit

360Health services are not provided by way of insurance (including health insurance) and the provision of these services is not dependent on the occurrence of an insured event under the policy. 360Health Virtual Care is a service provided by Teladoc Health. Access to these services will be at MetLife’s reasonable discretion and is eligible for all MetLife Protect customers and eligible clients who have received a specific code to activate the service. MetLife reserves the right to reasonably discontinue or change the services at any time. Information is general only and does not take into account your personal situation, needs or objectives. Before deciding whether to acquire, or continuing to hold, any of our products, please read the PDS available at Life insurance products are issued by MetLife Insurance Limited ABN 75 004 274 882 AFSL 238096.


The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two

Business Growth // BY FUTURO

What’s the PI Story? The number of companies underwriting Professional Indemnity Insurance (PI) in Australia has reduced significantly since the Hayne Royal commission. Consequently, this is making it either difficult to obtain, or your PI comes with a sizable premium increase and significantly inferior cover. In our rapidly changing industry, advisers need to have robust delivery method for advice. That means investment in technology, staff, systems, and processes, which in turn requires firms to have a good base of revenue to meet these costs. In the current environment, one measure of this is the cost of PI, and importantly the excess attached to it. In the Core Data State of the Licensees Research paper issued in September 2020, nearly 80% of respondents said that they are paying more after their most recent renewal, compared to the renewal before that. It is possible that the analysis of an AFSL’s current PI Cover, and their recent history when it comes to renewal, will provide a reasonably unbiased assessment of the License and the1:17 pm FFS-qrtpg-adviser-JUL21-FINAL.pdf 2 12/07/2021 advisers within its network.

Here are some example questions to ask your current or future AFSL: • How has the PI Insurer benchmarked the proposed AFSL against others? • A history of PI Cover, what is the trend and why? • How many complaints has the AFSL had in the last 12/24 months? • How many PI Claims has the AFSL had in the last 5 years? • How are Governance and Compliance managed in the business? • How are remediation of audits being managed? If firms are going with an AFSL that appears cheaper, they must ask themselves, at what risk? PI must be a key consideration when choosing a new AFSL or reviewing your current AFSL to ensure overall safety of your business and your clients. Be sure you are in “Safe Hands”.

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Join us in September

Events // BY OLIVIA SARAH-LE LACHEUR AFA National Conference Chair 2021, Adviser Advocate, Financially Advised Client, and AFA Foundation National Chair

AFA National Conference 2021 – a time for celebration, collaboration and education The AFA has been advocating for and supporting advisers for over 75 years. In 2021 we can reflect with pride on what we have achieved as a profession and celebrate the enormous positive difference we have made to our clients and the Australian community! We can also pause and reflect on the never-ending series of reforms that have materially increased the cost of advice and significantly reduced access for everyday Australians. This is driving advisers through business and personal transitions to providing advice in 2022 and beyond…and makes 2021 our year for transformation and evolution. The AFA National Conference is an environment for financial advice professionals to collaborate, advocate, innovate and learn. The AFA National Conference is about leadership, inspiration, challenge and disruption. In 2021 the AFA conference is a hybrid event that will be nationally online and locally connected. Our members far and wide across Australia can log on to experience the virtual sessions over 2 days,

and those members who live in (or want to travel to the main capital cities), there will be face-to-face social events on the final day. Like so many of you, I miss the energy, camaraderie and unity of our in-person conferences, so the face-to-face social events are definitely something to look forward to! I want to see my AFA family, recognise past and current members for their contribution, and celebrate the legacy we have all created over the past 75 years. I commend the AFA for championing positive change in the advice profession and championing innovation in the advice industry. I look forward to the speakers who will challenge us, inspire us, educate us, grow us, and support us. I hope you too are inspired by the conference program and will register now for this event!

AFA Virtual conference 2021


The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two

Events //

Conference Program There are 4 streams of content spread across two days, aligned to our conference theme “Evolve” • Evolve your profession

• Evolve your business

• Evolve your technical knowledge

• Evolve your wellbeing

Evolve your profession

Evolve your technical knowledge

This stream covers government, regulatory and association updates from:

This stream includes debates between advisers and technical specialists on the following subjects:

• Senator the Hon Jane Hume, Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy. Australian Government

• Investment Debate: Active vs Passive

• Joseph Longo, Chair Australian Securities and Investments Commission • Phil Anderson, General Manager – Policy & Professionalism, AFA • Hon Stephen Jones MP, Shadow Assistant Treasurer, and Shadow Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Australian Government

• Super Debate: Retail vs Industry fund • Using technology to drive practice efficiency and successful client outcomes • A New Way Forward for Disability Income Insurance • The Future of Retirement Income And a presentation from Andrew Inwood, Founder/Principal, CoreData Research Australia, on Industry Trends: looking for clues

• Helen Morgan-Banda, CEO AFA • Michael Nowak, President, AFA

Evolve your wellbeing

Evolve your business

This stream is about unlocking a healthier and more resilient you.

This stream delivers insights and tools you can use to drive greater clarity, productivity and value generation in your business. • How Future Ready is Your Business? Presented by Cate Americano, Founder | Director | CEO Inspiration Cafe • The Holy Grail. Presented by Rob Jones, Peloton Partners

• Australian Financial Advisers Wellbeing Report: Lessons on How to Thrive. Presented by Dr Adam Fraser, with Michael Bova of Family Wealth & Advisory. Sponsored by AIA Australia • Dr Nick Coatsworth, former Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health. Sponsored by TAL

This conference you will hear from over 35 live speakers, gain up to 30 hours of CPD points, and celebrate the AFA’s 75th anniversary. If you want to register your staff or join other advisers for the virtual event from a single boardroom, everyone will be credited with CPD points regardless of whether they participate via an individual log in or via another delegates log in. The conference team will explain how this will work if you want to spend the day with others while you join the event. All of the conference sessions, plus additional pre recorded content, will be available for 4 months after the event, so you can maximise your CPD points.

Social program In Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth we will enjoy face to face fun and fellowship at social events on September 22. This will be our chance to reconnect with old friends, celebrate the 75th anniversary of the AFA, recognise advisers with the Great Advice Awards, and raise money for our Charity Partners in each state. You will need to get in quickly and register for these social events as tickets are limited to 100 in each location ! You can register for these social events only, or as part of your conference registration at

The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two   23

Member Services // BY LINDY CHAPMAN Member Services Manager

Member Services update “If your path is difficult, it is because your purpose is bigger than you thought.” Sangita Bhalsing What is the purpose of advice, and the work advisers do and what is AFA’s purpose? These are important questions we have asked ourselves as part of our ongoing commitment to supporting our members during this period of change and contributing to defining the new future of advice. A future that takes the knowledge, experience and valuable lessons from the past and uses them as a springboard to building a sustainable, affordable advice industry. After all, how can we move forward if we do not reflect on the past and take the value built up of decades of work by advisers, build on that knowledge and pass it to and engage with the new generation of advisers? I won’t tell you the importance of advice in securing people’s lives, you already know the great work you do however AFA will always be there with you advocating for you with government and regulators. AFA will be celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year and we will be reflecting on this journey with you our members and honouring your part in building the community that AFA has become. So, make sure you join us for Evolve AFA Hybrid Conference in September 2021 to be part of this celebration. Registration is now open at The Membership team have been busy supporting many of our members renewing in the past couple of months. We have continued to work on the quality of our data to ensure we have an accurate picture of our members with an aim to make our communications and benefits relevant. We are continuing to optimise our technology to improve the member experience with a focus on ensuring our members receive their important membership renewal email communications.


The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two

Emails, yes, they can be the bane of our existence, but did you know that Australians have the highest open and click-through rates for email compared to the rest of the world? Australians value email more highly and email is rated as the best tool by associations for informing members to renew their membership. You can help us reach you by: • logging into your member portal and checking the details we have for you and • saving our email addresses as a Safe Contact, • flag AFA email’s as Important, • keep them in your main Inbox or • whitelisting AFA email addresses. As I started my article with a saying I will finish with one that I think in some way embodies the role of an advisor. The work you do is not generally a once off thing and the impact and influence you have to improve people's lives can be life changing and ongoing. “Giving people money is momentary; giving somebody knowledge and awareness is a lifetime type of thing” Trinidad James Disclaimer: Yes, sorry he is a rapper, but sometimes profound words come from unlikely people.

Visit your member portal We continue to work to optimise our membership portal to enhance your membership experience. To ensure you receive our important member communications, please help us by doing the following: • logging into your member portal and updating contact details • saving our email addresses as a Safe Contact, • flagging AFA email’s as Important, • keeping AFA email’s in your main Inbox • whitelisting AFA email addresses.

Remember, the AFA offer a monthly payment option. To ensure we can process your payment each month, please remember to do the following: • Provide current credit card details • Ensure adequate funds available are available • Remember that payments are processed in the fourth week of each month. The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two   25


The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two

Advice Strategy // BY ARUNA WICKREMASINGHA CEO and Co-Founder, Your Wills

Your Wills Toolkit, supporting your client’s financial wellness Your Wills ( CEO and Co-Founder Aruna Wickremasingha talks about the importance of Power of Attorney Forms and highlights when your clients will need each of these forms based on their current life circumstances. Along with a having legally recognised Will, nominating a Power of Attorney for your finances and healthcare should be a part of your client’s estate planning documentation. Your Wills recognises that as your life circumstances change, you may need to nominate other parties to act on your behalf. Having access to these documents is extremely important.

Leaving Instructions for healthcare: The document appointing the person who will make decisions regarding your client’s medical care and ensure their instructions they have indicated in their Advance Care Directive are carried out, is called an Instrument Appointing Guardian/Medical Attorney/Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker.

Your Wills offers four key Power of Attorney Forms which can provide your clients with complete peace of mind (if and when the situation arises) from as little as $49.95 + GST.

A Power of Guardian, Power of Medical Attorney or Instrument Appointing Medical Treatment Decision Maker (depending on your state or territory) authorises a person or persons to make medical treatment decisions on your client’s behalf if and when they are unable to make these decisions, including in situations where they are rendered incapable due to a medical emergency.

Travel: If your client is travelling when the sale of an asset occurs, i.e. car, boat or house, a General Non-Enduring Power of Attorney should be used to appoint someone to execute the sale documents while they are away. A General Non-Enduring Power of Attorney authorises a person or persons to act on your client’s behalf in relation to their financial and personal matters for a specified period of time. This authority will end at the date or occasion specified in the Power of Attorney or once revoked by your client. Sickness: If your client has been diagnosed with an illness which will, in the future, render them incapable of making decisions for themselves, an Enduring Power of Attorney should be used to appoint someone to act on their behalf when they no longer have capacity to make decisions on their own. An Enduring Power of Attorney authorises a person or persons to act on the person’s behalf in relation to their financial and personal matters. This authority will continue if and when your client is unable to make these decisions until a time specified in your Power of Attorney or upon death.

Specifying wishes: Your client may also require an Advance Care Directive. This is a document used to set out your client’s instructions and wishes regarding their medical treatment if they are no longer able to make those decisions on their own.

Simply head to, select your state and download a copy of the Power of Attorney Forms today for just $49.95 + GST.

Use the promotional code AFA10 for 10% off our Power of Attorney forms and when completing your Will online. Leave a Will, not a mess!

The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two   27

Advice Strategy // BY DAMIAN DIAMANTOPOULOS Portfolio Manager of the Australian Unity Property Income Fund

Not all Property Funds are created equal Everyone loves a good headline. When it comes to commercial property investment, it pays to look deeper. For years now there has been much conjecture about the future of bricks and mortar retail. Even in a pandemic-induced storm, some types of retail have proven to be resilient. Neighbourhood shopping centres – your local shopping format anchored by a Coles, Aldi or Woolworths – traded exceptionally well throughout the pandemic. Hospitals and childcare have again proven the power of a non-discretionary industries backed by Government support. Service stations, fighting against the trends of peak oil consumption and threat of electric vehicles, where once again in vogue as the focus centered on their essential service offering. Damian Diamantopoulos, Portfolio Manager of the Australian Unity Property Income Fund, outlines that “within the Fund, each property investment and asset type plays a unique role in diversifying income sources with the ultimate aim of delivering a sustainable income to our investors. Effective portfolio

management requires a continuous assessment of the risks and returns of underlying investments and, at times, it is necessary to act, to not be wedded to assets if the risks of owning them are perceived to be increasing without a commensurate level of reward.” The Fund simplifies property investment by providing a balance of direct, unlisted and listed property, having delivered total returns as at the 31 March 2021 of 7.77% p.a. (since inception 31 May 1999). Over the period, the Australian Unity Property Income Fund maintained its diversified exposure to many different property segments including industrial, specialist disability accommodation, service stations, childcare, hospitals, medical office and essential spend retailing to name but a few, across both public and private markets. These contributed to the resilience of the Fund’s income during this period.

Q. How do

we diversify beyond shares and residential property?

A. Australian Unity Property Income Fund If you’re looking for a way to diversify into commercial property without the obligations of direct property ownership, Australian Unity’s Property Income Fund is the answer you’ve been looking for. Enjoy relatively low volatility and a history of 7.77% p.a. total returns* since it began over 20 years ago.

Find out more at *As at the 31 March 2021 since inception 31 May 1999. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. AU1769_210616


The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two

Business Growth // BY NICOLE ALEXANDER Head of Licensee Standards, Centrepoint Alliance

What’s your path? The financial advice industry is going through a period of evolution, with advice firms looking for alternatives after being displaced by larger institutions or dissatisfied with services of their current licensee. While motivations are personal, considering self-licensing often stems from a desire for increased autonomy and control.

More than advice Within the confines of regulations, you have flexibility to simplify your arrangements to cater for your business structures and risk appetite, while potentially providing improved outcomes for clients and increasing business revenue and profit. As well as providing quality, compliant advice to clients, you will be faced with new challenges. Many of these may be services a licensee currently provides to you including: • • • • • •

Keeping up with regulatory change Developing and managing compliance Dealing directly with product issuers and revenue processing Dealing with regulators and reporting obligations Researching and maintaining an approved product list Securing affordable Professional Indemnity insurance.

Advisers operating a self-licensed firm will need to wear several hats – business owner, financial adviser, and licensee – while balancing the responsibilities of each.

Partner for success You will likely need to outsource functions and partner with service providers to efficiently manage and meet your obligations. But more than this, service providers can be a support in what is often a solo enterprise. Drawing on their scale and capability can be key to managing your time, resources and risk. Operating an AFSL isn’t a set and forget exercise. You only need to look at the raft of legislation from the Royal Commission that will continue to impact advisers and licensees to appreciate the need for ongoing support to navigate the often-complex regulations. Self-licensing may not be for everyone, but many find it to be very rewarding. Download the What’s your path? whitepaper on choosing to join a licence or self-license: afa/navigate

Online health & wellbeing resource brought to you by AFA Care & Benestar 24/7 access to articles, videos, podcasts, blogs, self-assessments on: Life, Money, Relationships, Work, Family. Find out more

The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two   29

Innovation // BY ALLISON DUMMETT CEO of Matrix Planning Solutions

More than ticking the box: Using Annual Consent to reshape the client experience In a recent study, 71% of advisers reported spending half their time or more on compliance.1 Reducing the compliance burden of advisers is therefore a key priority of licensees. Allison Dummett, CEO of Matrix Planning Solutions explains how a recent regulatory challenge has resulted in positive outcomes for clients and advisers. Faced with the challenge of Annual Client Consent, many licensees scrambled to prepare new forms that would get the tick for compliance. But what about the client experience? In today’s constantly changing, highly regulated environment, licensees need to help advisers understand and manage their obligations while simultaneously supporting client engagement. This requires the right systems and technology, along with a fresh approach. For forward-thinking licensees, what started as a regulatory challenge has provided the springboard for reinvention. “We knew we had to create an efficient way to manage client consent,” says Allison Dummett, CEO of Matrix Planning Solutions, “but we took the opportunity to re-think our overall client experience.

Creating a welcoming space online To encourage clients to use online tools, Matrix linked the new FDS and Client Consent process to an online ‘vault’ in Xplan, where clients can view balances, portfolio holdings and important messages, as well as store and manage vital documents such as wills and powers of attorney.

“We wanted to encourage and reward clients for using an online portal and digital consent, so we made it a welcoming, functional space where clients can actively review and manage their information,” says Dummett. “But the space needed to work for advisers too. To make it easy for advisers, all client data is stored and managed on a fully integrated basis within Xplan. For example, if a client updates their details in the portal, the adviser is notified. If they provide fee consent, the consent is stored as part of the client’s file,“ she says. To further enhance client engagement, Matrix has also built system interfaces to a range of front-end tools, including MyProsperity, Adviser Forms and Astute Wheel. Linking the app-like appearance with the functionality of these tools so that data is shared with Xplan creates a modern, client experience while introducing vital efficiencies that keep advice costs down and saves time for busy advisers. There may be no escaping the many compliance obligations faced in our industry but incorporating uplifts in client experience can produce positive outcomes for all.

1.  2020 ClearView Adviser Pulse Survey. Conducted via Qualtrics in November 2020 with over 200 financial advisers nationally.

Changing licensee? We want to be one of your options. To start a conversation, call or email our Head of Business Growth: Tony Mantineo 0405 357 634


The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two

Communities of Practice // BY CHARLES GREEN AFA Genxt National Chair

FASEAnxiety: Prior preparation prevents poor performance I first recall my high school PE teacher scrawling it across the chalkboard and booming this insightful nugget of wisdom to the class, spit raining down on the front row as he emphasised the alliteration. It has stuck with me and if you take nothing else from my ramblings let it be this. Why am I regaling you with tales from my childhood? A couple of reasons… The last sittings of the FASEA exam are approaching and as the deadline looms, so increases the pressure on those of us yet to make it through the gate. Exams are already inherently stressful and preparing well is the best way for you to feel in control on the day. The overwhelming feedback from advisers that have sat the exam is that feeling comfortable with the content is half the battle, and the exam is stressful not because of its technical difficultly, but due to the all or nothing nature of the FASEA December deadline. This stress can lead to underperformance so it’s important we do everything in our control to be prepared. 1. Make a study plan Often, we’re so busy planning for others we forget to plan for ourselves. Summarise all the key content and plan your time to ensure you cover everything essential in the weeks leading up. Half an hour a day, two hours on the weekends. If you start planning a month out, that’s nearly 20 hours of study. Ticking off study topics over the course of a month will give you a sense of accomplishment and mean you avoid the dreaded “cram sessions”. 2. Prepare to feel uncomfortable For some advisers there’s been half a dozen prime ministers since their last exam and the unfamiliarity of exam procedure is adding to the stress of the day. Bear these in mind before you walk in: • It will be weirdly quiet • The exam monitors may not be very friendly. It’s not their fault, it comes with the territory. • You’ll get a bit hungry. And a bit thirsty. And a bit sweaty. • It’s a long exam. Take 30 seconds every half hour to stretch your neck, have a sip of water and take a few breaths. It’s not going to ruin your time management and you’ll feel far less fatigued going into the final moments.

3. Do a practice exam under exam conditions FASEA has made a practice exam available and I’d strongly encourage you to familiarise yourself with exam conditions and time your attempt. Don’t use additional notes you won’t have on the day and try to stay in the one place for the full time. Kaplan also have a free practice exam that is marked and timed. Get comfortable with this structure so you feel more at ease on the day. 4. Practice good study habits These are some tips I’ve picked up over the years that work with your brain’s natural chemistry to fast track learning. • A good night’s sleep is proven to assist in committing learnings to memory. Make sure you’re getting quality sleep the night after a study session. • Write out your study notes by hand. As writing tends to be more cumbersome than typing notes, your brain is already working to help contextualise, summarise and digest content so you don’t have to write the content out verbatim. • Mnemonics are an incredibly helpful tool to assist with memorising content. If you’re not familiar, a mnemonic is something you can associate with a piece of content to trigger thoughts that come more naturally to us like imagery, music or rhyme. This brings me back to my high school story – associating vivid stories, alliteration or long-term memories with new information turns the average person into a memory master. One tip I’ve been told for the FASEA exam is to memorise the values and the code off by heart – Tracy Can’t Hop Far Distances. I’ll let you figure out what that means. I’ll be doing my best to put my money where my mouth is in September and just remember we now have two more tries up our sleeve should something go array. Just remember the 5 “P’s”. You’ve got this, and your profession, industry bodies and colleagues are behind you. The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two   31

Business Growth // BY DARREN STEINHARDT Managing Director, Infocus

Why licensees need to play a bigger game There’s no denying that the current environment for financial advisers is incredibly challenging. And though licensees offer much in the way of operational and practice support, there is a much bigger and more important role they need to play. The pain that legislative and regulatory changes are inflicting means that it’s no longer enough to passively accept the hand that we are being dealt. If your licensee is not reacting to the regulatory environment, then ask the question of whether they truly understand the impact that it is having on advisers and their ability to run their businesses and deliver quality advice. Most licensees meet the standard when it comes to helping advisers navigate the changing environment and providing process support - but it’s no longer enough to simply provide an operational framework for advisers to work within, particularly when the framework we can offer makes less and less sense. As a licensee, we’ve been helping advice practices understand compliance and update business processes in line with

changing regulations for a long time. But we want to be helping advice practices to implement regulations that make sense, that better the lives of the end clients and give advisers the opportunity to run successful, compliant businesses. It’s not enough to simply accept the regulations that are being introduced and aimlessly implement solutions that don’t contribute to a meaningful outcome for clients. Licensees are well-positioned to advocate for change and together we have the ability to communicate the day-to-day reality of what it takes to deliver quality advice. If your licensee is not advocating for change, it would be fair to ask them what they think is acceptable for the financial advice profession. And if they don’t have an opinion, then do they really have your back in this business?



Peace of mind estate planning enhanced.

Your Journey. Your LifeGoals. Like Laura, who wants estate planning goals achieved for her beneficiaries.

Investment Forecaster Tool

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Vol 25. Issue Two

Laura, 50, Business owner

For more information, please read the PDS.

24/3/21 5:05 pm

Community & Marketplace // BY OLIVIA SARAH-LE LACHEUR AFA Foundation National Chair

AFA Foundation Grants, making a big difference in small communities across Australia AFA Foundation Grants have just been awarded to 9 charity partners across Australia. Thank you to all advisers who nominated charities for consideration in this grant round.

Great Lakes Womens Shelter

Lifeline Harbour to Hawkesbury

Angels Community Group

Mid north coast NSW charity assisting victims of domestic and family violence with food, necessities and housing support.

Lifeline suicide prevention telephone counselling for the Sydney Harbour to Hawkesbury region.

Bundaberg based organisation providing school lunches, food hampers and Christmas hampers to those suffering food insecurity and hunger.

Fair Go Australia South East QLD homeless shelter, mentoring and programs for men and women on mental health and employment support. 250 volunteers run 39 programs for 4 to 8 weeks.

Pathway Community Centre Incorporated Food and shelter for migrants and lower socio-economic residents. Pathway Community Centre

Tutti Tutti are well known in Adelaide for their choir. Tutti participants have disabilities and enjoy the Tutti arts programs that allow them to use their creative capabilities.


Ngoongar Mia Mia

Dress for Success Perth

Build community through food, friendship, and volunteering to address food insecurity and social isolation across Melbourne.

A First Nation controlled entity focussing on socially and culturally appropriate housing that is also affordable to address issues of consistent housing for first nations people.

Empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

In total, $20,000 was granted to these Charity Partners. We look forward to sharing their amazing work with you over the next 6 months. In this edition we introduce one partner from NSW and one from WA.

The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two   33

Community & Marketplace //

Great Lakes Women’s Shelter Great Lakes Women’s Shelter is a mid-north coast NSW charity assisting victims of domestic and family violence with food, necessities and housing support. Nominated by Jason Lukjanenko, Senior Financial Adviser, Advantedge Financial, the AFA Foundation has donated $2,000 to support the shelter in the great work that they do.

community who raised the funds we donated to them, they were quickly on board, however explained to us that they would not be able to take the photo at the shelter, as the shelter can't take the risk of someone recognising a person, or the wall colour, or the surroundings... what a humbling thought. And a dose of reality for us all who are safe and loved and well cared for in our homes. When there are so many - who aren't....”

AFA Foundation NSW State Chair, Jasmin Loke, commented “When you have the opportunity to meet with people who have dedicated their lives to helping others, like we do in financial advice, it is always rewarding and fills you with hope and rejoice. The work that Jason Lukjanenko from 'Advantedge Financial - People before Profit' does as a volunteer for The Great Lakes Women's Shelter is nothing short of inspiring. We chose The Great Lakes Women's Shelter as a recipient of the AFA Foundation Community Grant this year after Jason nominated them. When we called the shelter to inform them of the donation, they were beyond grateful. They were able to outline what this amount of money will mean for the women and children they look after. When we suggested that it would be wonderful if we can present them with a cheque and take a photo for the AFA

Noongar Mia Mia Mia Mia (meaning shelter/dwelling) is a First Nations owned and controlled company that is proud to provide and manage rental accommodation exclusively for First Nations people and their families. NMM recognises and acknowledges the unique family, community, and cultural characteristics of First Nations people and, further aims to be recognised as a socially and culturally aware valued supplier of affordable housing for First Nations People in Western Australia. Submitted by WA AFA member Dawn Thomas, the AFA Foundation was proud to support NMM and donated $2,000 as part of the annual Foundation Grants round.

Carly Ravenscroft, Shelter Manager, Great Lakes Women’s Shelter and Jason Lukjanenko, Senior Financial Adviser, Advantedge Financial

“People in this situation prioritise food over these basic items and these care packs will remove an enormous amount of worry and anxiety for people already in a difficult situation. We hope that these home care packs not only help with a smooth transition, but also go towards setting expectations for property care as well. Cleaning, keeping things tidy and maintenance are all part of a positive transition into mainstream life, and these packs will go a long way towards a positive outcome for out tenants”. Dawn Thomas mentioned that “as a member of the AFA, it is heart-warming to see first-hand that money raised by the foundation is actually going towards grass roots causes and being able to see the results of donations was great and an honour to be involved in.”

For people who do not have the means or have potentially come from a disadvantaged or challenged position…, setting up a home can be a daunting task. It can be stressful, culturally sensitive at times and requires much thought and care. NMM decided that this money would be ideal towards funding a brand-new initiative of providing complementary ‘Home Care Packs’ to new tenants. Tenancy Management Coordinator Sarah Tutolo said that “for many people, moving into a property or switching from one rental to another is a fairly straight forward exercise… But for NMM clients, they can often be ‘street to home’ or homeless and are frequently starting from scratch. There is help available for larger items like furniture and bedding, but it’s the ‘little things’ which most of us take for granted. Broom, mop, tea towels, washing powder, dustpan and brush, tissues… Day to day items that cost a lot” she said.


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Dawn Thomas, Financial Adviser and National Chair AFA Inspire Committee, Steve Salvia, WA Chair AFA Foundation, and Sarah Tutolo NMM Tenancy Management Coordinator

You will meet more of our grant recipients in the next edition of this magazine.

Community & Marketplace //

AFA National Conference 2021 – national Charity Partners and state Charity Partners As a hybrid event, this year’s national conference gives us the opportunity to support two well known national Charity partners as part of the event registration process, as well as state-based charity partners at the face to face social events.

At the 2020 AFA National Conference we raised $6,000 for Foodbank and provided 12,000 meals to Australia’s suffering from food insecurity. It’s estimated that it costs $39 for a Lifeline volunteer to be trained, have the technology, and resources, and answer the call. Let’s feed even more Australians and help Lifeline answer more call in 2021 through your donation as part of the conference registration process. Our state based Charity Partners include: State

Charity Partner

Overview of Charity Partner


Life Flight


Steve Waugh Foundation

Enhance the lives of children and families affected by a rare disease.


Lighthouse Foundation

Provide homes and therapeutic care to children and young people impacted by long-term neglect, abuse and homelessness. By creating a caring community, homeless kids and foster families have a place to belong, heal and thrive.




The Saba Rose Button Foundation

Delivers emergency, lifesaving medical care to seriously ill and injured people, throughout Queensland.

Media / Social Media Details

Supporting the social development needs of society's most vulnerable children.

Helps special needs children to reach their rehabilitation goals. Providing therapy, equipment and respite through the REHABme program.

Please give generously so that the AFA Foundation can continue to support the lifechanging work done by our Charity Partners across the country. For more information about the AFA Foundation, please go to

The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two   35

Community & Marketplace //

AFA Foundation, partnering with AIA Australia and OnePath Life*, to make a meaningful difference to people in need Established in 2007, the AFA Foundation has raised over $2m for charity partners across Australia, supporting the life changing work they do for individuals, families and communities. We also provide non financial support by showcasing the work our charity partners do, and connecting them with AFA members who may choose to contribute pro bono professional services or do hands on service work. Some of the well known charity partners we have supported include Lifeline, MS Research Australia, OrangeSky, RuralAid, Make A Wish, and Beyond Blue. In 2021 the AFA Foundation identified the power of partners to financially support our work with large and small charities and to fund AFA Foundation Grants. We are pleased to welcome AIA Australia and OnePath Life as inaugural AFA Foundation Partners, and look forward to making a meaningful difference to people in need with their financial support. Ben Walsh, Chief Insurance & Investments Officer at AIA Australia, said, “We are a partnering organisation that champions shared


The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two

value and making a difference in people’s lives. By teaming up with the AFA Foundation, we are choosing to support a Foundation that significantly enriches the lives and livelihoods of others - which in turn will create meaningful impact and serve our community for the better.” Nathan Taggart, Head of Distribution at Zurich and OnePath Life, said, “In the face of the current challenges posed by COVID-19, we are incredibly proud to support the AFA Foundation’s efforts to support these important charities and in turn make a difference to everyday Australians and their families. We have a responsibility to positively impact the lives of our customers, partners and the broader community. This initiative, and our longstanding partnership with the AFA, is another way we hope we can make a difference.” *OnePath Life is part of the Zurich Group

AFA’s CPD Accreditation Service The AFA accredits continuing professional development activities in accordance with regulator guidelines that aim to deliver a high standard of professional development. We achieve this through a simple and cost effective service offering.

The advantages of the AFA CPD Accreditation Service include:

• The AFA accreditation program meets agreed FASEA standards and provides a best practice benchmark for promotion of your programs to the financial advice community. • AFA accredited CPD allows financial advice professionals using your content to meet their CPD obligations. • Simultaneous mapping to FASEA CPD categories and RG146 Knowledge Areas which also ensures ongoing RG146 compliance. • AFA Corporate Partners and Licensee Partners receive discounted rates for accreditations. • We offer a 50% discounted rate for reaccreditations.

Contact for more information.

Need exam help? At AFA, we’re here to support you to pass your exam in 2021. Talk to us about the tools and resources available and we’ll help you to get on track.

Contact the Campus AFA Team at

The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two   37

Communities of Practice // BY HAYLEY KNIGHT AFA Pulse National Chair

Handing over the reigns I can remember when I first started as a Paraplanner. We had shelves of hard copy PDS’s to study with paper application forms to tear out of the back. The SOA was inputted through Microsoft Word and proudly printed and bound ready for the client to take home with a stack of paperwork. Those were the days when the role of the Paraplanner was mostly administration, with a hint of technical work here and there. Over time software began automating a lot of these tasks, reducing the need for so much paperwork and the role of the Paraplanner evolved into what it is today. A more specialised position that requires ongoing study and value adding to the firm they work with. Advisers now want more from their Paraplanner. They are seeking a right-hand person who can confirm their strategic plans but also knows how to get the most out of the CRM. As Advisers value their time, they step away from the computer to get in front of more clients and this, presents a huge opportunity for us Paraplanners to step into. With the right plan in place, Paraplanners are becoming true assets to the adviser’s business. They are the people making the decisions on software, system automation, task management not to mention providing technical analysis and often managing a back-office team. Even though the Paraplanner is not in front of the client, there’s


The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two

an opportunity to empower your right-hand person to ‘take the reigns’ upon handover from your client meeting. So, my question is, why aren’t Paraplanners in these positions already? Consistently, feedback from the Advisers I speak with is that they are time poor and wear way too many hats. We know that compliance and further study requirements put extra pressure on the advisers as well. If only there was someone you could hand over to, right? There is. It is your Paraplanner. Lean on them. Empower them to make decisions for you. Delegate anything that is not the highest and best use of your time, and your business will grow, you will get some head space back and most of all, your Paraplanner will become the asset your business needs. We are all working towards a common goal so have the conversation with your Paraplanner. I bet you will find they’re chomping at the bit to take over these tasks and make them their own.

Community & Marketplace // BY JENNY PEARSE Managing Director, Jenesis

Is your content your marketing nemesis? Most financial advisers are feeling genuine overwhelm now, so when it comes to their marketing a less is more approach is being adopted. The argument no longer needs to be made that (digital) marketing has its place in any financial adviser’s business tool kit. It’s important to not let creating your content become your marketing nemesis. Latest data suggests daily internet usage in Australia is up 37 minutes on average, totalling more than 5 hours daily. Total online activity amounts to a whopping 40 hours a week. All up, 1 in 3 minutes online is spent on social media.1

Type of content

Whether this trend would have achieved such high numbers without the impact of a pandemic, we will never know. It is however safe to say that your ideal clients are utilising the internet regularly and they are spending substantial time on social media as a way of informing themselves.

Content types: • Visual – photos, infographics, memes • Video – recorded videos, live streaming, online events • Text based - social media, blogs, interviews, newsletters, reviews • Audio – podcasts, interviews • Interactive – checklists, case studies, quizzes, eBooks, research.

If you have already kickstarted your social media profiles, now it’s time to get clever with your content marketing. Creating content does not have to be your nemesis if you apply some simple principles to help you keep your content funnel flowing. 1. Frequency: Decide how frequently you want to be scheduling posts, so you know the quantity of content you need. 2. People: Remember who it is your talking with and ensure the content you create is styled to suit them. 3. Social listening: You want your content to be relevant so keep an active ear to what is engaging your audience and what is happening within your community generally. It will help you produce content that starts conversations.

Generating content Not all content needs to be delivering targeted, technical information. In fact, the more you step away from what you do and focus on who you are and how you help the better. Keep your content style natural and use storytelling as a bridge between what your audience is interested in and positioning yourself as an influencer. Content styles that work:

There are many types of content that you can use as a vehicle to communicate a message. It’s important to use what works best for you and to keep it simple when you are first getting started.

Source Are you the content creator? If so, make sure you have a content theme list to work with and that you are actively mapping ideas with a central focus suited to your audience. If you are curating content from an alternative source, ensure you are frequently reviewing what is available to you. There are many content libraries that provide content specific for financial advisers. Check with your dealer group or reach out to product providers who are producing consumer focused content. Activity Plan your activity so you are always ahead with the content you are producing or sourcing. Book a regular meeting in your diary as a designated time to create the content you need. Occasionally, you may need to adjust your scheduled content so the more content you have prepared the easier it will be to pivot when you need to. There are many third-party platforms to assist you with scheduling content. Do your research when adopting a publishing platform, some are more suited to certain social media platforms than others.

• Entertaining

TIP: Consider using the scheduling platform within each social media platform you are using if there is one available.

• Educational

Final word

• Informative

Get your content organised The digital world changes quickly so it’s a great idea to get your content organised so it is simple for you to access and schedule as needed. Here are some steps to consider:

If creating content isn’t for you, that’s okay! Curating content from a content source allows you to add your opinion and remain relevant with your audience. Content creation doesn’t have to be your marketing nemesis. If you are still feeling overwhelmed, outsource to a service provider that can assist you to get content out to your audience.

1  Digital 2020 Australia

The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two   39

Business Growth // BY VANESSA BENNETT CEO, Next Evolution Performance

Train your brain to improve your profits Current situation of adviser mental health By now you have probably seen the results of an excellent study on the mental health of advisers by Dr Adam Fraser and Dr John Molineux. This study was very kindly sponsored by AIA Australia. Anyone who knows Damien Mu, knows that he is incredibly passionate about this space and leads by example. And no surprises – the study found that adviser mental health and burnout situation is generally not great, especially due to increased compliance regulations.

It’s not all bad news The study found there was a cohort of advisers who were actually “thriving”. They were enjoying business growth, strong mental health, well-being and work-life balance. This is often referred to as “flourishing” in positive psychology circles. What are the characteristics of these “thrivers”? The study noted that the characteristics of the advisers in this group had very little to do with the financial planning landscape. Instead, psychological flexibility and psychological capital were two of these characteristics. You have probably heard us at Next Evolution Performance call these concepts “mental fitness”. And you may have heard us discuss how mental fitness leads to greater profitability in "Mental health equals more profit" (AFA Magazine Vol 24. Issue 2, August 2020) and "Build mental fitness to avoid mental-ill health and burnout" (AFA Magazine Vol 23 No. 48, August 2019).

So what is mental fitness? Mental fitness can be described as the ability to use cognitive resources to adapt and respond to work and life events in a way that leads to flourishing. Note that it doesn’t mean that everything always goes super well for people with higher mental fitness. It’s how they deal with situations that sets them apart. They have the ability to see obstacles as opportunities and respond accordingly. In this case, the current landscape in which advisers are operating is similar for all, but the response by the “thrivers” is one which still leads to enjoyment of the role as well as business growth.

So how do the “thrivers” have better mental fitness? Well, it’s a little complicated, but our brain is like a muscle and so we often liken mental fitness to physical fitness…. Everyone has different baseline fitness levels, but we can all take steps to strengthen our fitness levels. 40

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Broadly there are three elements all wrapped up as a “BioPsycho-Social” approach: 1. Bio – This is your biology. Think of this as your baseline level of mental fitness based on your genetic make-up. Some people have certain genetics which lead them to be more prone to mental ill-health than others. Yes – some people are just built more glass half full than others, just like some people are more genetically pre-disposed to find exercise easier than others. Luckily, thanks to the next point, and a concept called epigenetics, we are able to choose to think differently to switch off the effects of these sub-optimal genes so that our genetics don’t have to be a one-way ticket to mental health problems. That’s exciting news! 2. Psycho is psychology – it’s not the situation that’s the problem, it’s the interpretation of the situation where things can go awry. This is the part that is trainable. 3. Social – Think of this as your environment. This is the sum of your experiences. And yes, some people have had a lot more bad experiences than others and these can impact your mental fitness. Everyone is different when it comes to all of these three factors, and to complicate matters even more, the interaction of each of these factors for each human brain is different. So, our “thrivers” may have an advantage in point 1), are most definitely better at point 2) which has possibly been influenced by point 3) even before the current adviser landscape occurred.

If you don’t have a high baseline level mental fitness, can you build it? It will be easier for some than others, but the short answer is yes. Just like it’s easier to exercise your body when you are already fit, it’s easier to choose to think differently when you already have mental fitness – so the best time to start getting mentally fit would have been years ago – but the second-best time is

Business Growth //

right now, and it won’t get any easier the longer you leave it before consciously starting to train. And like it or not, your brain has been changing and adapting over the years according to how you have (or haven’t knowingly) been training it – just like a muscle. This concept is called neuroplasticity. If you have been training your brain to think helpfully, your brain shape has probably changed to have a bigger part of the brain which helps you to do that. It’s called the Pre-Frontal Cortex. However, since our brains are wired for survival rather than accomplishing anything amazing, if you haven't been giving conscious attention to thinking more helpfully, other parts of your brain such as the amygdala, have probably become bigger, and more well-trained (albeit unconsciously) to think more negatively. So, if you don’t consciously train your brain to think helpfully, you are unconsciously training it to think negatively. Read that again! So, neuroplasticity is happening one way or the other. The choice is yours as to whether you are going to use it to your advantage or, like most people, let it work to your detriment.

So how do we start to build mental fitness to develop an opportunity mindset? Again, it’s complicated. As every brain is different, so too, everyone’s training plan should be tailored for best results. I always find it amusing when people ask me “is there a book I can read to build mental fitness?” – That’s like me saying “Is there a book I can read so I can do my own financial planning?” I think you’ll agree there’s a little more to it than that. I just spent 2.5 years reading circa 1,300 academic papers on this stuff. My dissertation topic was the effectiveness of mindset interventions in the workplace on reducing stress and promoting productivity and resilience. There is plenty of info – but are you a neuroscientist or a financial planner? I’m guessing you’re already pretty busy dealing with compliance, so you probably don’t want to add neuro-psychology to your reading list... you just want to know how to do it. So, while I’ve given you a few easy tips to get you started below, I certainly echo the recommendations in the above study for advisers to seek specific help, tailored to the needs of you and your team. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to building mental fitness. And be aware of anyone calling themselves a “mindset coach” without checking their credentials in this specific space.

So a few general tips... 1. Practice gratitude – This is one for all levels of mental fitness. Each day, have a time or a situation (for me it’s walking my dog) where you consciously think of all the things you are grateful for. Imagine you only wake up tomorrow with all things you are consciously grateful for today. 2. Move – As a start go for a 20 minute walk and get your underwear sweaty. Your brain will release some deliciously happy neuro-transmitters which can be like taking a drug to help you think more helpfully. 3. Understand your strengths and make sure you get to use them every day – I’m assuming one of your strengths as a financial planner is that you are really good with clients. Then speak to at least one of your clients a day – even if you feel like you are drowning in compliance. Then aim to change your processes so that you get back to doing more of this strength, and consciously think each day about how you used your strengths. A great business coach will help you with the systems and process to get you back in front of clients. Sue Viskovic and her amazing team of business coaches at Elixir Consulting are experts in helping you to get your business model sorted.

Conclusion The “thrivers” are aware of the challenges but, more importantly, have a far greater ability to view these as opportunities. With many advisers choosing to exit the financial profession, this screams opportunity for advisers doing great work for clients, who have asked the right questions to help them adapt and do things differently to set themselves up for renewed and continued business profitability. The choice is yours – given that mental fitness is such an important key to business growth and enjoyment, will you make the choice to build your mental fitness? Vanessa Bennett is a Performance Mastery Coach with Next Evolution Performance (NEP). She helps leaders and teams build mental fitness to perform at their best without burnout for better business solutions. She has completed her Masters in Psychology and Neuroscience of Mental Health – with Distinction - at King’s College London.

Fancy a discount at NEP’s open workshop series in October and November? If you are interested in learning more ways to improve your mental fitness, NEP’s workshop series on October 21 and November 4 is for you. For more information and to register, go to and use the code AFA100SEP before September 30 for $100 off the advertised price when booking both workshops.

The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two   41

Community & Marketplace //

AFA key dates for 2021 Pop these dates into your calendar!

9-14 September

FASEA Exam Sitting #14

21-22 September

Evolve Hybrid Conference and State Networking Events

1 October

Commencement of New Breach Reporting and Reference Checking Regimes

1 October

Commencement of Stage 2 APRA Intervention IDII product changes

5 October

Commencement of Design and Distribution Obligations

5 October

Commencement of new Internal Dispute Resolution regime (RG 271)


AFA Annual General Meeting

4-9 November

FASEA Exam Sitting #15

31 December

Deadline for completion of FASEA Exam – Phase 1

1 January 2022

Proposed Commencement of the Single Disciplinary Body

Share your AFA story! In honour of our 75-year anniversary, we are creating an archive of stories and members from our AFA members. Your submissions may be featured in the upcoming issues of the Financial Adviser Magazine, on our website or social media platforms. We would love to hear from you. Please get in touch with the magazine editor Candice Spence at


The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two


Who's Who at the AFA AFA Directors

Our Vision: we empower financial advice professionals to transform the lives of Australians through quality financial advice. The Association of Financial Advisers President Michael Nowak P (07) 3859 4105 Vice-President Sam Perera P (02) 9266 2266 Treasurer Matthew Hawkins P (03) 6231 3448 VIC Director Sam Robinson P (03) 9686 1784 SA / NT Director Jawad Ahmad P (08) 8229 2260 QLD Director Patricia Garcia P (07) 3252 3600 NSW / ACT Director Katherine Hayes P (02) 6152 9144 WA Director Stephen Knight P 0411 603 444 Independent Director Shaun McDonagh P (02) 9267 4003 AFA National Office Level 5, 257 Clarence Street Sydney NSW 2000 P (02) 92674003 Members 1800 656 009 Editor Candice Spence P (02) 8036 8173 E Advertising (02) 8036 8173 Design and Printing Clutch Digital P 1300 476 500 E Distribution The AFA Ltd and the Editor do not necessarily agree with comments and views expressed in this publication, and do not accept responsibility for any personal opinions stated herein. The AFA Ltd and the Editor do not take responsibility for the accuracy of “financial product advice” provided by contributors to the magazine and information in the magazine does not constitute or convey specific or professional advice. Legislation changes may occur quickly. Formal advice should be sought before acting in any of the areas discussed. The magazine is issued as a helpful guide to financial advisers and for their private information. Responsibility is disclaimed for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions. Particular investments are neither invited nor recommended and hence this publication is not “financial product advice” as defined in Section 766B of the above legislation. All expressions of opinion by contributors are published on the basis that they are not to be regarded as expressing the official opinion of any other person or entity unless expressly stated. No responsibility for the accuracy of the opinions or information contained in the contributor’s articles is accepted by any other person or entity.

SA / NT Director Jawad Ahmad

QLD Director Patricia Garcia

NSW / ACT Director Katherine Hayes

Vic. Director Sam Robinson

WA Director Stephen Knight

Independent Director Shaun McDonagh

AFA Executive

National President Michael Nowak

National Vice President Sam Perera

Chief Executive Officer Helen Morgan-Banda

Treasurer Matthew Hawkins

AFA Head Office Phil Anderson General Manager, Policy and Professionalism 02 9267 4003

Cameron Burne General Manager, Partnerships 02 8036 8163

Peter Windle General Manager, Finance 02 8036 8166

Candice Spence General Manager, Marketing 02 8036 8173

Greg Chambiras Member Services Associate 02 9267 4003

William Pascoe Member Services Officer 02 9267 4003

Caz Garrard Manager - Education, Policy & Professionalism 02 9267 4003

Lisa Faferko Campus AFA Associate 02 8036 8162

Melissa Favaloro Events Manager 02 8036 8168

Cherie Martin Marketing and Engagement Coordinator 02 8036 8165

The Financial Adviser Vol 25. Issue Two   43

Don’t miss this line up…

Helen MorganBanda

Andrew Inwood

Michael Nowak

Dr Adam Fraser

Senator The Hon Jane Hume

Dr Nick Coatsworth

Joseph Longo

Stephen Jones

Cate Americano