Licensees lag with reporting adviser numbers

This week adviser numbers continued to fall with a net change of -49, driving the net number of advisers further down to 17,621, but the decrease is slower than anticipated, according to Wealth Data.

Earlier this week Money Management reported that adviser numbers were expected to hit below the 17,200 threshold this month however it seemed the holiday period and COVID-19 caused many licensees to lag behind with their reporting to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

This was particularly apparent in the peer group of accounting – limited advice, a segment that mostly consisted of accountants providing self-managed super fund (SMSF) advice under restricted licences, which were yet to report.

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According to Wealth Data’s director, Colin Williams, therse were mostly very small licensees who needed to remove themselves and close the license which might be more complex than expected.

“To put this into context, there are 258 ‘one adviser licensees’ and 50 ‘two adviser licensees’ in this peer group and they had some of the lowest Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority [FASEA] exam pass rates when this data was available,” Williams said.

This week saw 22 licensee owners with net gains of 33 advisers, while 46 licensee owners saw a net loss of (-81) advisers. At the same time, three new licensees commenced while eight licensees ceased.

The highest losses were reported by CBA, Consilium Advice, and Insignia Group (previously known as IOOF) which were all down by a net of seven advisers. These were followed by Synchron that was down by (-4), and four groups including AIA and WT Financial Group were down by three advisers.

According to the data, the largest group was Insignia with 1,239 advisers while AMP Group had 1,111 financial planners.

AMP Financial Planning was still the largest licensee, with 595 advisers, and was followed by SMSF Advisers Network (544) and Morgans, in third position, with 446 advisers.

Source: Wealth Data

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Still another 9 days to go (30 days to update ASIC records) but clearly there will be a lot of fines and penalties handed out in 2022.
1. Many Advisers have recorded their exam pass as a qualification on the FAR. Nope, that's not how you notify ASIC as required
2. Many Advisers thinking they can get away with not having passed or failed twice in time and still advising.
As soon as ASIC check their records, and realise say at least thousand have not met the exam requirement and several thousand have not notified them properly, there's an interesting story coming up.

One of the issues with notifying ASIC that you have passed the exam is that this needs to come via the AFSL holder. But for many on the register, who in the last few years may be doing a role where they are not providing advice and a ceased on the register, there is no way to tell ASIC that you have passed the exam and completed over requirements. The disconnect between ASIC and the FASEA exam organisers is rather weird.

Off topic a bit. If you are not currently on the FAR it doesn't matter.
When (and if) you are ready to be licensed again, your new AFSL can notify ASIC of your exam pass at that time if they were not previously notified.
The ASIC guidance makes it very clear that if you are in this particular position (not currently on the FAR but were pre 12/2018 (an "ERP"), have passed, ASIC not notified) you are not disadvantaged.

I see your point, but I'm on the FAR having been noted as "ceased" post 1 Jan 2019 and have no way of telling ASIC that I passed the exam and the only other requirement. I think their may be quite a few others in a similar situation and and would be good for the ASIC register and industry in general to have an understanding of the number of ceased advisers on the advice register have passed the FASEA exam and/or completed all educational requirements. I have no intention at this stage to return to financial advice, but you never know.

There's still 23 advisers at Consilium Advice? 7 happy people.

Yeah, I think a lot of these planners who moved to other avenues of advice. Perhaps this story is a 'slow day' story.

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