Whether Australia's peak bodies in financial advice merge is a matter for members to decide, according to Financial Planning Association of Australia chief executive Dante De Gori.
Speaking at the Financial Services Council Summit in Sydney this week, the head of the FPA said the advice industry was still being "ripped apart" in Canberra for not showing a united face in the past, allowing politicians to discard the lobbying efforts of both advocates for the industry.
But with the relationship between the FPA and the Association of Financial Advisers becoming closer recently in the face of sustained legislative and regulatory pressure on the industry, De Gori said he wouldn't rule out the associations becoming one.
"We've rebuilt, if you like, a relationship with the AFA in particular about working a lot more closely together and [that's] very important.
|Sponsored by OnePath Life|
Join us on the New Path
"It's not just with the AFA. We've got John Maroney and Sally Loane here in particular, the FSC and the SMSF Association and others. It is in our collective interest to work better together, especially from an advocacy perspective."
De Gori said so far members have appreciated the closer association between the advice advocates, though noted not all issues would be seen eye-to-eye by all stakeholders.
"Members are loving it. The message has been positive," he said.
"Now there's never going to be a situation where we're all going to be singing from the same hymn sheet, but on very important matters, specific matters. The more we can be united with one message the better."
Ultimately, the final call would be up to the members, De Gori noted.
"From a merger perspective, that's a decision for members. I never say never, but at the moment it's about trying to ensure that that relationship and that engagement bears fruit."
Yesterday, De Gori became the first sitting FPA chief executive to attend an AFA National Conference, when he joined the audience on a day that saw Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology, Senator Jane Hume, addressed the industry but failed to announce an extension to the FASEA deadline.