Financial Planning, Regulation

SMSF advisers add to rise in planner numbers

Adviser numbers spiked towards the end of 2018, driven in part by SMSF practitioners registering with ASIC.

The number of people registered as first-time financial advisers spiked in the last two months of 2018, ending a year in which the total number of people who registered as an adviser passed 4000.

According to the register of financial advisers maintained by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), 8232 people registered as starting work with an advice licensee in 2018, and of that number 4144 people were registered as also providing advice for the first time in 2018.

The bulk of those registrations took place in November and December, with 3000 people listed as starting as advisers between 1 November and 31 December, including 2379 people registered as advisers in December alone, according to the register.

It is likely the growth in registered advisers includes accountants providing SMSF advice, with the register listing SMSF Adviser Network, operating under the National Tax and Accountants’ Association licence, adding 327 advisers in 2018 and Merit Wealth adding 175 advisers during the year.

Other drivers for the increase in those registered as advisers may include the registration of individuals working for large not-for-profit super funds, paraplanners and support staff, and non-practising advisers who may have previously been on the register and were considered by ASIC to be an existing adviser.

The large-scale increase in adviser numbers can be attributed to the requirement for existing advice providers to have registered with ASIC by the end of 2018 to avoid being considered as new entrants and subject to different education requirements under FASEA standards applying from 1 January 2019.

ASIC provided the advice sector with a warning in November last year, stating that “only financial advisers who were authorised at any time between 1 January 2016 and 1 January 2019, and who are not prohibited from providing advice on 1 January 2019, will be recognised as an ‘existing provider’”.

“Financial advisers can demonstrate they are an ‘existing provider’ by having a status of ‘current’ on the Financial Advisers Register at any time in this period,” ASIC said.

“Without recognition as an ‘existing provider’, financial advisers will be treated as ‘new entrants’ to the industry”.

New entrants will be required to complete an approved qualification, pass an exam before they can be authorised to provide advice, and will also have to complete a year of supervised work and training.

The ASIC register, which is available online at, lists nearly 28,800 people as financial advisers, but also includes around 500 people who work for licensees that provide timeshare accommodation. The numbers listed above do not include timeshare accommodation representatives.

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