In December 2021, a survey was conducted by Momentum Intelligence, exploring the political leanings of sector participants in legal services, mortgage lending, financial advice and wealth management, real estate, aviation, defence and national security.
Off the back of the survey, the Industry Insight Report: Election Edition has been released, revealing the attitudes, preferences and considerations on political parties and leaders among business and industry.
According to the report, across the six sectors surveyed, six out of seven stated that they preferred a Coalition government and Scott Morrison as Prime Minister.
On a two-party preferred basis, 58 per cent said they preferred a Coalition Government over a Labor Government with Legal Services the only sector to prefer a Labor Government and Anthony Albanese as preferred prime minister. Eight per cent of respondents stated that they are still undecided.
The report noted that one in two voters are not completely certain they will vote for their current preferences on election day.
In terms of the financial advice and wealth management industry, 60 per cent of respondents preferred the Coalition, 13 per cent were undecided, while 27 per cent preferred a Labor government.
The accounting professional also prefers the Coalition with 59 per cent stating that they would vote for the Coalition, while 35 per cent planned to vote Labor and six per cent were undecided.
Key issues for accountants and advisers
The Industry Insight Report revealed that the economy, taxation and small business interests were the three biggest considerations for both the financial advice and wealth management sector and the accounting sector.
The economy was the top consideration for the financial advice and wealth management industry at 75 per cent, followed by small business interests at 58 per cent and taxation 52 per cent.
This was similar for the accounting services sector, with the economy also the main consideration at 73 per cent, followed by taxation at 67 per cent and small business interests at 61 per cent.
As part of the research, respondents were asked to comment on industry-specific comments and other general comments regarding their vote in the upcoming Federal election.
Verbatim responses from participants in the accounting services sector included challenges faced by accountants and bookkeepers in navigating COVID-19 government initiatives.
“Tax agents were given unprecedented additional workloads for several months and just expected to carry the load. There is no surplus 50 per cent labour force in our industry happy to take up casual work so we just had to do it,” one accountant stated.
“Now we are reaping the constant harassment from the ATO for clients who have lost so much already and haven't been able to catch up on their paperwork. I expect 3-5 years before all our clients will be ‘back on their feet’ however the ATO is already threatening default assessments for 2020 returns, which just increases our workload.”
Issues around the complexity of superannuation legislation and the need to improve advice affordability were also raised by those in accounting services.
One accountant outlined the need for the government to address the cost of advice for individuals wanting to consolidate their super or for those wanting advice on smaller super accounts.
“Qualified accountants should be able to provide limited advice,” the respondent added.
Another respondent suggested that the superannuation system could be simplified by removing the transfer balance caps and annual contribution caps and introducing a $1.7 million lifetime balance cap for contributions instead.
Among respondents from the financial advice and wealth management industry, concerns were raised around rising compliance costs impacting affordability and access to financial advice.
“In the last couple of years, the over-the-top and impractical compliance rules that have been placed on the financial planning profession are making the cost of advice rise to the point that financial planners find that they cannot afford to give advice to anyone with less than $500,000 worth of investments,” one ALP voter stated.
“This is unsustainable and will lead to a huge lack of affordable advice in Australia.”
Another respondent stressed that providing a statement of advice in its current form to a simple client is not practical.
“Can we please have a simple Statement of Advice for simple advice?” they stated.
To download the full report, click here.