Adviser numbers drop below 21,000 in November

The number of actual advisers, which recorded another drop of 31 this week, brought the total number to below 21,000 (20,938) year-to-date, according to HFS Consulting’s analysis of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC’s) Financial Adviser Register (FAR).

Not surprisingly, the institutionally-aligned planning groups continued to show the biggest losses in adviser numbers, with AMP Financial Planning and NAB having lost 280 and 230 of adviser roles, respectively, since the start of the year.

Breaking down the advisers register into peer groups, HFS’ director Colin Williams said the data showed the smaller groups with less than 20 advisers had suffered the smallest loss at -2.26% and these were followed by super salaried and private client peer groups, which saw an adviser role loss of -3.67% and -5.34%, respectively.

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“The self-employed peer group at -6.10% has held up pretty well given the losses suffered by AMP FP which are in this peer group,” Williams said.

The above numbers were indicative of only those licensees that currently had at least one adviser while, according to data, more than 1,000 adviser roles were lost to licensees that effectively closed to advice over the year.

Source: HFS Consulting

This week also saw the arrival of five new licensees while three other licensees came to a close, with adviser losses taking the licensees to zero advisers.

Once again AMP FP topped the table for the highest weekly losses of adviser roles, with a net loss of eight roles, and was followed by WA Local Government Superannuation which saw the roles reduced by five while both Charter Financial Planning and GWM (MLC) lost three roles each.

“As we come towards the end of the year, Lifespan remains as the front runner for the most growth by a licensee, currently sitting on a net growth of 60 adviser roles, followed by Interprac at 44 and Sentry at 33,” Williams said.

At the same time, he stressed that although GWM showed a net growth of 70 adviser roles, the company did actually receive 156 advisers transferred from co-owners NAB.




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This won't stop. With the professional bodies aligned to the big banks putting us in this position it will continue. Our clients get letters telling them how such and such a retail fund treasures their relationship. Not that long ago we were the clients to the super funds and our clients were our clients. I don't remember in over 30 years receiving one client from a fund or bank. This I believe has been their plan all along: "thanks for bringing all this business to our door.....you can go now". As for the future? The consumer groups see us as having a sandwich board out the front with "Advice, $100" written on it like you sometimes see "your tax done for $80". Meanwhile we have our ongoing fees and levies, 40 grand worth of PI, staff, Xplan at 50k+ and so on and so on. Scaled, affordable and intra fund advice hands it all straight back to the very bodies that held their heads in shame during the Royal Commission while secretly plotting their next moves. We're not planning to exit and have young people in the business, but I fear for many of our colleagues out there.

@Watzman, I don't know which Bank you were aligned to - but our experience has been very different to yours. The bank aligned AFSL has actively facilitated our growth. They've had referral programs to self employed advisers (those that passed a high compliance hurdle) and have essentially been a partner to us in looking after our clients. Furthermore they've taken on the clients we could no longer service. It's been a win:win:win relationship, which is sadly coming to a close.

The one genuine criticism I can aim at them is that they didn't stand up to ASIC. Being large ASIC targetted the big groups because they could get traction across more of the industry. Now the industry is so fragmented that ASIC will have to go back to the drawing board.
The clients lose with the deep pockets of the big banks exiting the industry. Those that suggest otherwise are likley blind to the value they did bring. Whose remediating Dover clients? We know whose remediating the bank clients.

Thanks for your feedback, and for the record I totally agree with paragraph 2 of your comment and we're certainly in a weaker position all around. Your experience is very different from ours, as we were with a non-aligned licensee which eventually was gobbled up by a big 4 so we never had the career path client feed as we were still treated as the self employed arm right up to the end. A few individuals made some deals here and there when it all fell apart but the vast majority continued to run their own compliance "A" rated businesses. We continue to service our clients, some of which for 30 years, through our own AFSL and find it a bit rich to have them receive letters from what is effectively a supplier pretending its a relationship the supplier suddenly controls. On a side not Helen, are you a registered Financial Adviser?

Who's remediating Dover clients? For what? I haven't heard of any significant issue warranting remediation of clients by Dover.

Just because the banks have been bullied by ASIC into remediating lots of clients that were not disadvantaged in any way, it doesn't make it right, and it certainly doesn't mean that others should be doing it. The banks have acquiesced to ASIC purely to protect the brands of their much larger lending business.

Hey Anon, I think it's worse than that. When we were under one of the large ones as ARs we were constantly benchmarked, blueprinted, etc to "help" us grow. Looking back over the decades I think it was a sneaky way to build their bank planner network on our experience. This of course failed miserably as we all saw. Rule one: You cannot kpi sales targets on advice without crossing the ethics line. So now with that gone our clients all get look back letters making us look at fault, clients that we used to get A audit ratings by the very people now sending these letters. It's crooked to the core and the big end of town's last attempt to get between us and our clients. The RC never even scratched the surface of what's really happening in the background. RC 2.0, here we go again.

In the comments above, blaming the banks for the loss of adviser numbers is akin to simply blaming the British for the casualties at Gallipoli. They definitely had a large part in it, but lets not forget it wasn't them shooting the bullets at us.

The enemy and 100% of the blame has to be laid at the feet of the union & Labor strangle hold held over industry funds, their growing strength through the literal rivers of gold pouring into their pockets, their successful propaganda machine that has been extremely effective for decades, their longsighted vision of attaining complete dominance in the space of retirement wealth management, and the regulatory capture they have managed to achieve that has been strangling our industry and efficiently killing us off (while unfortunately largely being cheered on by a misled public).

We're to blame too, of course. Not just the recalcitrants who do wrong and give us all a bad name, but also the vast majority who through utter complacency and delusional ignorance allowed this to happen. All the planners and associated businesses who in the past were too busy to care, or openly stated that we were too essential, who didn't join petitions against the injustices over the years, who didn't write to their local MP's, or who didn't perceive or believe the threat that ISA, IFM, Choice, and all their other tentacles that managed to get such a stranglehold would become.

I have been stated in many forums for more than 15 years that this would be the end result, only to be laughed at and treated as a nay-sayer, pessimist, conspiracy theorist etc. At least I took my own advice and built a business largely immune to the current issues, sold the majority shareholding for a lovely six figure sum to another like minded firm, and retain some minor ownership but enjoy a very generous salary while still being valued and able to contribute to the exciting future direction of the business and focus more on client care without all the responsibilities falling on my shoulders.

So akin to the grasshopper and the ant, to a very large degree, those that are whining about the banks or the insane insurance changes or realise now that winter is coming and they're likely not going to survive, especially if you were the ones years ago laughing at the 'conspiracy theories', I pretty much just say you reap what you sow.

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