With the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority’s (FASEA’s) changes to professional standards still up in the air, the uncertainty of the future of the financial services industry has adviser sentiment unsurprisingly low.
Speaking to Money Management, the Association of Financial Advisers’ general manager of policy and professionalism, Phil Anderson, said the FASEA changes were the biggest issue facing adviser this year, and the continuing uncertainty and fear about how vigorous the potential requirements would be has advisers feeling blue.
Anderson said while advisers were dealing with the situation differently, they were all wondering whether they were fairly recognised for their previous work or whether there would be equity in the new model.
“The older advisers are confronting this differently again,” said Anderson. “It’s, ‘am I going to get the value out of doing it?’ or, ‘I haven’t done this for a very long period of time, am I going to be able to do it’,” he said.
Anderson said the exam component in particular is causing a lot of anxiety, as a lot of existing advisers have not been in an exam-like situation for years.
Findex’s managing partner of financial advisers, Matt Swieconek, said advisers are finding increased administrative and compliance tasks a burden that might get too big to bear once extra tertiary qualifications pile up too.
Wealth Insights’ Adviser Sentiment Index also saw sentiment plummet to levels not seen since the ASX dropped well below 4,500 points in 2012.
The data also showed that, in their role as a financial planner, fewer than half of surveyed advisers indicated that times were “good” or “very good”, with 40 per cent indicating times were “average”, and 19 per cent indicating that times were “bad” or “very bad”.
But, while it looks all doom and gloom now, once the dust settles, Swieconek said the landscape will be completely different, with less competition and higher entry requirements giving planners a lot more leverage.
“The next three to six years looks really busy in terms of workloads, but once that happens, the landscape will see a lot more opportunity and the profession will be better regarded,” he said.
Anderson said he’d seen an uptake in members’ use of the AFA Care offer, which allows advisers to speak to a counsellor in confidence, and that continuing engagement and discussion around the changes is the key to staying positive.