Speaking at the 2020 Association of Financial Advisers conference, Shadow Assistant Treasurer and the Shadow Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones lambasted the Morrison Government for its "monumental mishandling" of FASEA, tying it to the over 4,000 departures from the industry since the end of 2018.
Jones said that despite there never having been a greater need for households and businesses to get financial advice, "the Government’s only plan has been to dismantle what is working, and to bungle the implementation of reforms that have been a decade in the making."
Referring to the contents of the 2020 Budget, Jones said the Government has "no vision for the country, and their approach to financial advice has been similar." This, Jones said, has resulted in a situation where quality financial advice is "becoming harder to get".
Regarding FASEA, Jones said the education standards system has been "built wrong from the ground up." He criticised under-resourcing as well as FASEA being provided with "the wrong direction" and "the wrong leadership".
"When you have an organisation that goes through three CEOs in less than two years," he added, "you know something is wrong. And when a regulator issues key standards mere days before they are to come into effect, you know that they are not doing their job right."
Jones continued: "These Liberal failures have caused tremendous difficulties, crushing small businesses and ordinary financial advisers beneath confusing and contradictory reforms."
His comments follow those he made regarding superannuation at a recent event hosted by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia. There, he criticised the Government for its approach to the COVID-19 early release scheme, something every super fund has had to grapple with this year, as detailed in our latest season of After Hours.
Jones argued that despite finding "unlikely allies" in "large charities and a few left-leaning economists ... [w]hat they won’t tell you is that these groups at the same time are calling on the government to increase the pension. Not by a small amount, but a very large amount."
"The Liberals won’t increase the pension," Jones said. "They’ve already made several attempts to cut it and this year, they’ve frozen the pension. With super cuts and the pensions frozen, there is a gaping hole emerging in the future capacity to support every hard working Australian in their retirement."
Jones implored the Government to expedite the release of the delayed Retirement Income Review, saying that "it doesn’t contain recommendations only findings of fact. Surely if we are going to have a sensible policy debate it should be based on facts."
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