11 February 2019

The final report from the Hayne Royal Commission should encourage the public to be seeking genuine advice and support from their trusted adviser; the accountant, according to the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).

“There is no doubt that there are many lessons to be learnt, particularly for the banking industry, brokers and even the regulators,” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.

“Importantly, the Hayne Royal Commission reinforces the importance of trust and seeking appropriate advice from professionals.

“Professions evolve over time. Whilst every profession faces challenges, the emergence of professionals is an important factor. Accountants and accounting as a profession has evolved literally over centuries.

“Put simply, Public Accountants are not in the business for charging exorbitant fees for advice but rather offer genuine support to their clients. They want to be able to have broader advice discussion which the current financial services regime prevents them from having.

“It is saddening, that so many people; mums and dads, families and small businesses have been subject to unscrupulous behaviour, aggressive selling, dishonesty and greed.

“They are the aggrieved purely because of self-interest driven objectives of particular market participants in the financial services industry, protecting their patch and personal gain.

“Members of the three professional accounting bodies are answerable to the highest level of professional and ethical standards, subject to ongoing quality assurance evaluations, and must maintain currency of knowledge through committed and continuous professional development and training.

“We believe the time has come for a more open conversation about returning to a time where broader and deeper holistic conversations between accountants and clients are allowed through the financial service legislation.

“In some of these cases, such conversations could have identified and potentially resolved a number of the issues or at least alleviated some of the negative impact that victims of financial services misconduct have had to endure,” said Mr Conway.