AIOFP – The Association of Independently Owned Financial Planners

Venue: Q1, Surfers Paradise
Organiser: Peter Johnston & Julie Adams, AIOFP

This was the first time the organisation had worked with a professional MC, so it was a steep learning curve for both of us. Q1 is the tallest residential tower in Australia as such it is predominantly geared to residents. Its convention facilities are not great as the resort is simply not geared for this type of activity. Nevertheless, we had a very enjoyable two days here and the staff did everything they could to make this event work.

I think I learned more about the financial industry in two days than I’d ever known. It was amazing to me to find out how insidious the major banks are and how they are intent on controlling every aspect of our finances.

Over the course of the two days we heard from a range of speakers from the two Ombudsman’s offices (yes, two!!!) to Dennis Maddern, a man who has built up a considerable business in Melbourne offering financial services to the …shall we say…well-heeled!

Perhaps the most lively session was the one involving Dr. Richard Sandlant from Treasury who spoke on the so called Bowen Recommendations. It was here that the delegates came to life as they impressed upon Dr. Sandlant that many of these recommendations had little to recommend them.

The conference dinner was off-site at the Bavarian Haus Restaurant where vegetarians would have been seriously out of place!  This was carnivore heaven with plate after plate of ribs, chops and German..sorry …Bavarian sausages all washed down liberally with beer and wine.

Many people were later choking on said beer and wine whilst being entertained by Dave Flanagan. This was the inspired choice of AIOFP CEO, Peter Johnston. Dave, looking more like the caretaker of a suburban footy club than a stand up comedian, is a good old-fashioned comic who peppers his monologue with the sort of language that you don’t find much of in convents. His observations on technology and the modern way of life had people in stitches and there was much spluttering as people tried laughing and drinking. Not to be recommended!

At the end of the two days, I was impressed with the commitment of these people to continue offering independent advice to people regardless of the inducements offered by some of the major banks and financial institutions to recommend financial products that – more often than not – favour the institution above the individual.

These guys rock!

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