Accounting, financial advice

Limited licence adviser numbers drop sharply

accountants limited licence

The number of accountants operating under a limited licence has more than halved in the past year compared to peers under a full licence model.

The number of accountants operating under a limited licence has fallen by more than half in the past year, reflecting a sharp decline as seen across the financial advice sector, according to figures released by Wealth Data.

The advice sector research and consultancy group recorded the total limited licence adviser number between 7 October 2021 and 6 October 2022. As recorded on the Financial Advisers Register (FAR), accountants primarily offering SMSF services decreased from 1529 to 657. This reflects a decline of 872 or 57.03 per cent.

Conversely, accountants operating under a financial planning licence saw a much smaller decline, dropping from 943 to 853, a decline of 90 or 9.54 per cent.

The figures also revealed that no new limited advice licensees were registered on the FAR. But 245 closed during the period mentioned compared to 10 new accounting/planning licensees being registered and 19 closing across the year to the start of October.

The total number of advisers on the FAR declined from 18,867 to 15,935. This is a decrease of 2932, or 15.54 per cent. 143 new licensees being registered and 419 licensees closing across the 12-month period.

“The investment advice model, made up of licensees that focus primarily on portfolio advice, had a net loss of 13.01 per cent, which is greater than the financial planning model. The latter is made up of licensees that offer holistic advice, which was down 11.16 per cent,” Wealth Data stated.

“Super funds have held up the best over this period with a net loss of 8.82 per cent.

“The only growth segment are new licensees in the financial planning model. 118 new licensees are commencing and 83 are closed.

“The vast majority of the new licensees are small practices, usually between one and four advisers. Most of the advisers exited large licensees and are well-qualified, experienced advisers.”

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