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Forward Thinking Magazine : August 2011
Macquarie Adviser Services 11 Macquarie Adviser Services cover story cover story cover story “The old accountant’s exemption had to go, nobody really understood what it meant anyway so we needed to replace it,” Heffron says. “The way the accountants react to that replacement really depends on what we end up with and that’s another of those unknowns at this stage.” “We might see, not the amalgamation, but the coming together much closer of the accounting and financial advice industries, and I think FOFA is certainly pushing in that direction. The two camps have always fought a little bit against each other but I think they’re maybe being forced together,” says Andrew Hamilton, managing director of Cavendish Superannuation and Vice Chairman of SPAA. While the two professions continue to jostle for competitive advantage, there is a sense that a distinction between the two is not beneficial for the consumer. “The difference between the planners and accountants, probably traditionally, was just based on their expertise but they’re both advisers, so I think it’s unfortunate that we have financial planners in one camp and accountants in another camp,” Heffron says. He says at the end of the day, we have a group of people who have face-to-face contact with the community in relation to their financial affairs and, ultimately, we want these people to be able to provide that advice competently with the right values and culture at a reasonable price. “And whether you’re a financial planner or an accountant probably doesn’t make much difference,” he says. Indeed in a competency-based environment, such distinctions could become far less significant. “I do wonder whether the external environment is changing to the point where the reason that the professions actually exist in the first place, and what they perceive to be their raison d’etre is actually changing, and rather than having a functional discipline we move towards a competency,” Heffron says. macquarie.com.au/smsfroundtable