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Protecting consumers by improving professional standards.
Professional Standards Research

Professionalisation of financial services

The first of the Professional Standards Councils’ white paper series focuses on the financial services sector, and considers the community, economic, regulatory and personal benefits that might arise from professionalisation of the industry.

The project involved interviews with a cross-section of industry stakeholders to understand their perspectives on the opportunities, costs and barriers to professionalisation in the financial services sector.

It is clear from our research that steps have been taken, and some communities have invested substantially in the process of advancing professionalisation. But it is also clear that this is limited, and that professionalisation has not been defined or universally committed to by the whole industry.

There is strong support for professionalisation of the industry from a cross-section of stakeholders. However, the lack of common understanding and agreement on the essential elements of professionalism poses a significant obstacle to professionalisation.

As part of our recommendations, we propose a roadmap outlining possible steps for industry and government collaboration, and potential areas for practice reform, as a starting point to discussions about the future of regulation in financial services.

About the author

This white paper was produced by the research section of our agency as part of our work to promote thought leadership in professional standards and regulation. Learn more about us.

This white paper is the first in a planned series on professionalisation within the services sector in Australia. The white papers will examine the current level of professionalisation in a range of industries within the services sector, and canvas industry perspectives on professionalisation.

We prioritised financial services for our first white paper due to public scrutiny on conduct in this sector, and the opportunity for more efficient regulatory design that improves consumer protection and motivates expanded professional obligation. Future white papers will focus on other sections of the services sector.