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The Standard

The Standard is a bi-monthly publication to snapshot financial services regulatory issues and the opportunity to contribute to policy development and submissions.

The First Word

by Chris Whitehead F FIN | 25 Jun 2018

Welcome to the June edition of The Standard.

In May, FINSIA launched its first internationally recognised professional qualification in banking, the Professional Banking Fundamentals. This is the entry point into the Chartered Banker pathway. We announced plans to introduce professional banking qualifications in May 2017 as part of our professionalisation strategy, well before the current Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. However, the announcement of the Royal Commission early this year has revealed the urgent need to raise professionalism and standards across the Australian Banking industry, the bedrock solution to the industry’s structural weaknesses.

The FINSIA banking qualifications represent a pathway to professional excellence that will support people in the Banking Industry, from foundation level to Senior Executives. Over 250,000 individuals have attained the Chartered Bankers foundation level standard globally.

The Royal Commission has raised serious issues about behaviour that has further eroded the trust of Australian consumers. FINSIA shares the concerns of the community and the vast majority of people within financial services with the behaviours and practices revealed through the Royal Commission, which are unacceptable. You can watch FINSIA’s response here.

Raising industry standards of professionalism is the key to reducing poor customer outcomes and improving consumer trust. Our submission to the Commissioner outlines the blueprint for the professionalisation of the financial services industry with three key recommendations to assist in achieving this:

  1. Establish professional standards of conduct and competence for the industry.
  2. Require completion of professional qualifications at defined roles and levels of seniority.
  3. Implement an annual certification process to provide a Statement of Professional Standing.

The industry has the opportunity to take responsibility for the current situation and provide a unified, rigorous and wholistic solution that will result in a robust financial services industry worthy of consumer trust. To this end, I am pleased to announce that we will be holding a series of member town halls to gather feedback, thoughts and opinions. The first of these town halls will be held in Brisbane on 5 July 2018, Sydney on 19 July and Melbourne at a later date.

In the financial advice sector, the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) is continuing its consultation with industry on new standards of education and ethics. Earlier this month, FINSIA made a submission to FASEA on the proposed Code of Ethics, and we are also preparing a submission on the proposed qualifications pathway for existing advisers. I have heard from many members who are concerned that their professional qualifications (including the old SIA diplomas) will not be recognised by FASEA. In our submission, we will be advocating that both the Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning and the Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment be recognised in the qualifications pathway. There is still time for you to have your say on this issue, with our survey on the proposals open until Friday.

FINSIA is continually catering to members needs and their preferences on how they consume information – in case you missed it, our podcast series is great source to keep you informed about what’s happening in the business world, you can access it here.

Kind regards,
Chris Whitehead F FIN
CEO & Managing Director, FINSIA



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