A survey conducted by an independent dealer group conducted among its self-licensed practitioner network has indicated financial planners have an optimistic outlook about the future and are seeing the reduction in the numbers of advisers as a positive business opportunity.
My Dealer Services director Alex Euvrard revealed 42 per cent of survey participants expressed an interest in acquiring books of business that may become available due to the exit of experienced advisers as an avenue to grow their practices.
Euvrard acknowledged a separate 26 per cent of respondents indicated they were unsure whether they would pursue an acquisition strategy, but predicted many in this cohort would actually do so in reality.
The study also showed financial planners are looking to complement the provision of financial advice to clients with SMSF administration and related services, accounting, finance and mortgage-broking facilities, estate planning and aged-care services, and budgeting and cash-flow management activities in that order of priority.
With regard to challenges facing the industry, advisers within the group cited rising compliance costs as the number one issue.
“The rising cost of compliance is unsustainable in the long run and needs to be addressed as an industry priority,” Euvrard said.
He noted additional elements applying cost pressure to practices were the increase in professional indemnity insurance premiums, up to 50 per cent in some instances, and the rise in staffing expenses.
Respondents indicated the use of technology would lessen the impact of these factors, but revealed the best tool an adviser has at their disposal is not a modern development.
“An overwhelming 98 per cent of advisers affirmed that technology will play a bigger role in the future with benefits measured in reduced costs and improved operational efficiency. Most importantly, it will significantly enhance the client experience and provision of advice,” Euvrard noted.
“However, when it comes to technology and its impact on client engagement, the humble telephone was still number one as there was no substitute to speaking personally with a client.”
The survey was conducted among the 70 licensees in the My Dealer Services network, including over 240 financial advisers.