Engaging the next generation and creating awareness of financial planning as a career is crucial to ensuring the future of the industry, according to the Financial Planning Association of Australia.
Speaking to Financial Standard, FPA chief executive Dante De Gori said communicating the benefits of financial planning, both as a career and for the Australian public, is one of the industry body's key focuses for 2017.
De Gori said the more stringent requirements for entry to the industry - proposed in the government's professional standards reforms - may see a decrease in the number of new planners coming through, while also likely contributing to an exodus of older, existing planners.
"It's going to be harder to become a planner and that will potentially dry up the supply, so we really need to encourage and create awareness of financial planning as a profession for the next generation," De Gori said.
To combat this, the FPA has implemented a proactive strategy targeting university students, consulting with 25 universities around Australia on syllabuses for financial planning qualifications. De Gori added the association is looking at introducing a similar strategy in secondary schools.
"We are also developing some tools and resources to support the industry going into high schools. We aren't looking at changing the curriculum, but we know there are many people in the industry already with connections to high schools that are eager to do presentations around career opportunities," De Gori said.
Continuing the push towards professionalism remains a driver for the FPA also, with De Gori believing that the passing of the FPA's Ongoing Fees Code - the first of its kind to be approved by ASIC - puts the association and its members in good stead to regain consumer confidence while also attracting new members, particularly new entrants.
"The long-term position is you're going to have to be a part of an association with an approved code going forward, so I think this puts the FPA in the box seat," he said.
"It's a long-term goal, but our code is a pretty big sign of professionalism and there's a lot of accountability and responsibility that comes with being bound by that."
Already during this financial year the association has welcomed more than 1000 new members, with its total membership now surpassing 12,000 - around 10,000 of which are practicing financial planners. But the FPA won't be resting on its laurels.
"We can't increase the number of Australians getting financial advice if we don't have more advisers. We're going to lose members through natural attrition and also the professional standards and LIF legislations, so growth is a major focus for us because without it the profession won't survive," De Gori said.