Originally published 18 September 2015
I’ve spent the last 15 years in the financial services industry. After doing different roles to get my feet wet, in 2004 I became a financial adviser. 2004 was an interesting year for financial services, especially financial planning. We had the new Financial Services Reform Act (FSR) which created a new compliance framework for financial planners. This is when we saw the introduction of the Statement of Advice and of course, s945A of the Corporations Act, that is, the reasonable basis for advice.
Now I am sure there were advisers in 2004 who were running around like chicken little screaming “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!”, but guess what, it didn’t. FSR became part of our everyday life and as advisers we adapted processes to ensure we complied.
But how do you comply with the laws without getting bogged down in the mire of the Legislation? Well, that is where I come in. I have now been in the compliance field for 5 years and oh my, what 5 years I have had. In 2010, I commenced with a well-known Australian Financial Services Licensee (AFSL) and began providing compliance support to financial advisers from all over Australia. During my time with that AFSL, I was involved in an enforceable undertaking with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). My understanding of regulatory guides and Legislation during this period skyrocketed. What that enforceable undertaking taught me though was that as a whole, financial advisers are good people, trying to do the best for their clients in a very confusing industry. This is an industry that changes its mind based on media exposure and negative attention. So, I have found that advisers just need a little help, someone that they can call and ask a question to ensure they are steering the right way. A lifeguard, if you will, to ensure they are swimming between the flags.
One of the ways that I like to help advisers is to make them think of compliance using totally non-related scenarios, you know, by comparing the industry to the cast of Star Wars, and asking an adviser whether he wants to be on the Rebel Alliance or the Imperial Empire (hint, its not good to be on the dark side).
My hope for this blog is to present everyday compliance challenges in a way that makes them easy to comprehend. To do this, I will try to combine two of my passions, the first is compliance and training, the second, is pop culture. Here I am sitting in a position that should be staid and boring, and I am surrounded by little characters from movies, gridiron teams, television and comics. By surrounding myself with these sort of characters, as well as that picture, yes dads, you all have that picture, that your son or daughter drew of you at school, I can keep myself grounded and remind myself that we work in an industry of real people and with real people, nothing is ever the same and that you need to connect in different ways.
So I hope you enjoy my ramblings and feel free to give me some feedback along the way.