Financial Planning Association (FPA) chief executive, Mark Rantall, has called on all financial planners to aspire to the highest standards in what he called “extraordinary times”.

He also charged the estimated 6,000 financial planners not currently members of the FPA to join the industry association in its push for professionalism.

In a frank address to delegates at the FPA Conference in Brisbane yesterday (16 November), Rantall called for members to “step-up” or prepare for financial planning’s demise.

“There are two options for the future,” he said. “We either have a healthy new generation of financial planners who are committed professionals and who work to clear, enforceable standards supported by a strong, professional body and have earned consumer trust and confidence.

“Or there is the other option in which financial planning dissolves into oblivion with no future pipeline of new blood, having all but lost the battle for trust, credibility and respect.”

Rantall reiterated his organisation’s call for the term financial planner to be restricted to only those practitioners who operate to the highest standards in terms of education, experience and ethics.

FPA Chairman, Matthew Rowe, backed the call saying all FPA members should work to a future where financial planning is a universally respected profession.

“We envisage that there will be 20,000 financial planners in Australia over the next five to ten years who will be distinguished by law from product advisers, salespeople and others less qualified and experienced. Most, if not all, will be certified financial planner professionals.”

The FPA’s mission to not only raise professional standards but actively promote its intentions to the Australian public received a boost with independent endorsement of its recent national advertising campaign.

The independent research conducted by Ipsos ASI Australia described the FPA advertising as “strong on appeal, attention-grabbing and providing a relevant message”.