Fri 15, Feb 2019
Implications for agriculture are also going to be direct with the recommendations from the BRC.These include no default interest charges on land affected by natural disasters, introduction of farm debt mediation, and placing the onus on insurers to obtain all relevant information (rather than the insured being penalised for inadvertent failure to disclose). “In the same vein, and considering the CAg accreditation scheme, we are building a structure which will foster growth of a cohort of independent experts in agriculture able to bring that value to the sector,” Sarah explains. “I have always believed that the best way to do business is to put the needs of your customer first, even if it means forgoing your own advantage. Sound relationships are built on transparency and trust, and your reputation is everything. “A CAg will combine expertise in a sound ethical framework and represent reliability and consistency for clients in agriculture.” As an AIA Board Director, Virginia Shaw believes she has a responsibility to ensure that AIA members are adequately skilled, maintain their professional relevance and can be a sustainable resource to the agricultural industries. “In an ever-changing world we need checks and balances to ensure that we are doing things right and doing the right things to those that we have a duty of care, or who have entrusted us to provide professional advice or services,” she explains. “No matter how big or small our contribution and whether we are paid or voluntary, we must always act ethically and respect the diverse community in which we live and work.” As highlighted by Daniel Tan, AIA Board Director, incentives for performance should cover good governance and quality of customer service, not just be based solely on financial ones. “There is a clear need for organisations in agriculture to support a culture of good governance, performance and compliance,” Daniel says. Andrew Bishop, Immediate Past Chair of the AIA, says there are direct implications transferrable from financial advice to agricultural advice as to responsibilities that the advisor must carry and bear. “In relation to advice, it must be given in the best interests of the client rather than the adviser,” he says. “This links directly back to ethical frameworks embedded in professional standards and technical competency and this is where CAg plays an important role. “Governance and the responsibilities of directors, in this case financial companies e.g. banks, insurers, extend directly to agricultural companies and organisations as well.” Shaun Coffey, AIA Board Member, went further to suggest that responsibilities of agricultural professionals could reach wider. “Perhaps our broader community (all potential members of the AIA) expects that not only will members benefit from our activities, but we will be accountable for standards in the profession and the standing of the profession,” Shaun indicated. The AIA is well placed to support its members and its stakeholders to confidently face the challenges put to the sector by the BRC findings.