New education, professional and ethical standards are a short-term challenge for all financial advisers, but head of the TAL-owned licensee Affinia, Marcus O’Sullivan, says once they’ve been negotiated the financial planning industry will be entering a new era.

“We’ve got a very bullish attitude, not just as a licensee but from our practices as well,” O’Sullivan says.

“They see the opportunity. Whilst appreciating there’s going to be extra work and extra time to get these things done, everyone is looking through the next few years as once we get through this we are going to be in a golden age in the advice industry.”

O’Sullivan says few industries are afforded an opportunity for reinvention quite like the one financial planning has been given. He says it is a chance to “kickstart the industry and move forward with very little legacy trail”.

Celebrate the opportunity

“Any opportunity where we can get better as a profession, we should see that and celebrate that,” he says.

“We shouldn’t be running and hiding. Education standards is going to be a challenge, no doubt, but it’s only going to be a challenge for the advisers who actively choose not to participate in it, because they’re seeing it as a good end date for retirement or they’re redesigning their businesses so they sit in more of an MD or CEO role and they don’t actively give advice any more.