Squizzy at the cutting edge razor blade with blood
Squizzy

Squizzy is a satirical look at the personalities and companies which make up the Australian financial services market.

Squizzy is always on the lookout for amusing anecdotes from the industry and welcomes hearing any rumours or gossip about who is doing what and to whom.

The caravan moves on

Is FASEA’s last message lost in time?

Squizzy 3 January 2022

The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) ceased to exist on 1 January, 2022, and with it went its final messaging.

After raising himself out of his Christmas/New Year deckchair, Squizzy noted that long-time media consultant to FASEA, Bruce Madden, had penned a message on LinkedIn referencing truth being the first casualty of conflict and the existence of a “a few facts as the final missive from FASEA”.

Madden’s message provided a link to the FASEA web site but, alas, as Squizzy discovered, the link was dead and all that could be found in 2022 was: Error>

<Code>AccessDenied</Code>

<Message>Access Denied</Message>

<RequestId>NRMP1P55TXF225S6</RequestId>

<HostId>610Y3UxXZhNvkxXzoJBYqznqjmtp3hPgw+kGvq8WON12lTzOvISPVx9D/L+/2dLWmC6ROyxqiTw=</HostId>

</Error>a

You see, FASEA and the web site that it controlled is gone. It has been replaced by one which appears to be controlled by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and, perhaps, Treasury.

Squizzy is reminded of that old Turkish maxim: “The dogs bark, but the caravan goes on”.

Leading by example

Indy Singh leading from the front on FASEA exam

Squizzy 21 December 2021

Before we close out 2021, Squizzy would just like to give a bit shout out to his old mate, Fiducian’s executive chairman, Indy Singh.

In a year when a lot of top executives had plenty to say but little to do about passing the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) regime exam, Squizzy knows that Singh was not just talker, he was a walker and he passed.

Your humble correspondent is not sure how many other people of Indy’s experience and stature in the financial planning industry led by example by sitting and passing the exam but he reckons Singh has every reason to be proud of his achievement.

That said, Squizzy has heard no word from Fiducian central about Indy now saddling up to add another few bachelor degrees to his curriculum vitae, but there are times in your life when finessing your golf short game just needs to take priority.

Squizzy would be interested in hearing about any other executive types who have led from the front by passing the exam.

Man providing breath test for police

Who needs a driver’s license in lockdown?

Mike Taylor 1 September 2021

Squizzy is not enjoying lockdown. Like most other people in the financial services industry he is enduring it, not enjoying it.

But he does know of one superannuation fund chief executive who, while not exactly enjoying lockdown, it enduring it with the smug satisfaction that things might have been worse.

No names, no pack drill but Squizzy is told that this particular CEO had actually experienced a run-in with the law which saw his driver’s license suspended for a number of months which, in normal times, would have made the execution of his role somewhat more difficult.

In fact, the superannuation industry being what it is, the whole experience might have been a bit embarrassing.

But, as things have turned out, lock-down and Sydney’s five kilometre travel limit have meant that the inability to drive anywhere has not been a particular burden for this chap and he is now looking forward to getting his license back, if only to reduce the wear on his shoe leather.

Squizzy, of course, has not resorted to the bottle help him through lockdown but Mrs Squizzy has had to hide the biscuit barrel.

Revolving door of an office block

Cushy job or poisoned chalice?

Squizzy 12 August 2021

Squizzy has been reporting about the Australian financial planning industry for more years than he would care to admit and so he saw some symmetry in the recent announcement of the impending departure of another Financial Planning Association (FPA) chief executive, Dante De Gori and the exit of Jo-Anne Bloch from Mercer.

You see, Bloch and De Gori have something in common. They have both been chief executives of the FPA and have both found themselves trying to deal with the management of the organisation during a period of tumult.

In De Gori’s case that tumult has been generated by the Royal Commission and the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority regime and in Bloch’s case it was the nascent stages of the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) regime.

In between De Gori and Bloch it was, of course, Mark Rantall, who led the organisation through the FOFA implementation and of course initiatives such as the Life Insurance Framework.

But what Bloch and Rantall never faced was the exodus of financial advisers from the sector, largely driven by the FASEA regime.

What they all shared, however, was the continuing suggestion that the FPA should at some time merge with the Association Financial Advisers.

FPA CEOs come and go, but the merger debate goes on.

Man sitting on stairs holding back in pain on the phone

Super consulting during lockdown proves dangerous

Squizzy 4 August 2021

Squizzy has concluded that we are definitely living in dangerous times, and not just because of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

Squizzy has heard that two of the better-known consultants in the superannuation industry, Deloitte’s Russell Mason and Mercer’s Brian Zanker are a little the worse for wear after mishaps which, on the available evidence, may have involved hospital visits but had little do with the pandemic.

It seems that Mason might have fallen down his own stairs at his home in Sydney while Zanker may have had a close encounter of the worst kind with some furniture in his Gold Coast hinterland home.

Now, Squizzy knows that Mason is a teetotaler so his claims to losing his footing in the dark may or may not be true, whilst Zanker’s claims to have fallen over a chest of drawers may warrant further investigation given that armoires tend to be somewhat stationery objects.

In any case, Squizzy has seen Mason in a moon boot and a photograph of a battered Zanker, and he has concluded that no matter where you live these are dangerous times.

Stay safe out there.

Conference graphic of headshots within connected gears

The 2021 conference season brought to a virtual end

Squizzy 31 July 2021

As Squizzy kicks off another week in lock-down he notes the number of invitations he has been receiving to attend events – virtual events, that is.

And he is wondering whether some of the bigger financial services events will actually end up going live this year such as the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) scheduled for the Gold Coast in November.

Also scheduled for November was the Financial Planning Association (FPA) Congress but Squizzy notes that the FPA has already run up the white flag on a 2021 event and has postponed until the 7-8 of April, next year.

So how good must the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) be feeling about getting its Conference of Major Superannuation Funds (CMSF) off the ground in Adelaide earlier this year, not to mention the success enjoyed by the Financial Services Council (FSC) with its insurance conference in Melbourne earlier this year.

On current indications, no one is expecting any major conferences to be “face to face” events for the remainder of 2021 which means that they’ll either be virtual events or delayed until vaccination levels increase and borders reopen.