Richard GilbertThe Investment and Financial Services Association is planning a “shock and awe” campaign to help counter the low level of consumer confidence in the financial system.

Richard Gilbert, IFSA’s chief executive, said last week that the board was working on an announcement which would surprise some people.

In a wide-ranging speech to a seminar aimed at improving efficiencies in managed fund administration last Thursday, Gilbert said that consumer confidence was the major issue facing the industry at the moment.

“The (IFSA) board is working on an announcement that will restore confidence,” he said.

The seminar was produced by Professional Planner magazine in conjunction with IFSA.

Gilbert, who announced this month that he would retire after the association’s annual conference in August, criticised the Federal Government on several fronts, including the proposed fund performance tables, to be compiled by APRA, the lack of assistance for mortgage and cash management funds hurt by the liquidity crisis, and the default super fund options being promoted by the Fair Work Commission.

He said that the area of default super options, in freedom of choice, was a massive area for competition, but this was not happening. The Commission had so far awarded 11 “monopolies” and four duopilies and out of about 100 funds, only two had been awarded to commercial master trusts – one to AMP and one to Ascalon.

“When can you think of a monopoly or an oligopoly where they have wanted to innovate?” he said.

But largely IFSA’s agenda for the immediate future would be set by international economic events, he said.

Regulatory costs would go up and the industry needed to counteract that with increased efficiency.

A full reporting of the seminar will be published in
the June edition of Professional Planner (the sister publication of Investment
& Technology).

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