Thanks for reading another edition of our newsletter, Connected. The last few months have been particularly interesting for our country and our profession, with significant developments that will certainly be reflected in the work we do together.
The Free Trade Agreements signed by Australia with China and India is very significant at a time when the mining sector is beginning to lose heat. The ability to tap into the markets of our northern trading partner with reduced tariffs and other impediments will mark a huge shift in the terms under which we can export to this massive market. For many years Australia has been touted as potentially becoming Asia’s food bowl, with our efficient and safe food production standards.
The agricultural sector, in particular dairy farmers, have welcomed this agreement warmly. Closer to our world, the ability for Australian financial institutions to export financial services, one of the world’s most sophisticated and well regulated (albeit small) financial sectors, will potentially create the scale that will drive choice efficiency beyond that we already enjoy. The same goes for many other professional services, from education to architecture.
This spike in export markets will hopefully see benefits flow beyond those directly working in those fields – much like we saw with the mining boom – and have supporting industries enjoy similar increases in activity.
This can only be good news for our country and all industries alike.
In the space of a week we saw another development from Canberra that has a flow on to our relationship – the disallowance of a motion to amend the Future of Financial Advice legislation passed under the previous government. The timing of these changes being put before the Senate, right in the middle of a meltdown in the relationships within the Palmer United Party, saw the financial planning business become the first casualty of the cross fire, with the proposed changes voted down.
In terms of the way our business operates, the most obvious change you will notice is that every second year for those that have engaged our services since 1 July 2013, we will need to ask you to sign a letter confirming you wish to continue to be serviced by Empire. Of course, you have the right to make that choice now at any time, however where would be the fun in that? Surely more redtape and an extra step in the delivery of our services will make things more efficient and cheaper to deliver (implied with sarcasm). So, stay tuned for that change into the new financial year (unless more horsetrading changes things again in the Senate).
On a positive note, we are very pleased to announce the addition of Nicholas Hart to our team. Nick will be addressing the whole spectrum of services we offer, however comes to us with a very deep understanding of the UK Pensions system, an area that will require urgent attention if you or someone you know has funds still in Britain. You can read more about it in the rest of this newsletter.
This may be the last contact some of us have before Christmas arrives and the year ends. If that is the case, I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful break over the Festive Season, and look forward to being in touch again in 2015.