Financial advisers strengthen ties with accountants

14 December 2023
| By Laura Dew |
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With a move towards servicing high-net-worth investors who are seeking a professional network of specialists, accountants and financial planners are working closer than ever before.

There has been commentary that high-net-worth investors are seeking to use a financial adviser as part of a professional network of specialists, including accountants, brokers and lawyers.

For them, an adviser can act as a “connector” between various specialists and offer expertise on matters involving from portfolio construction to succession planning.

John Birt, founder of Radar Results, said: “We have noticed financial planners and accountants working harmoniously. This was not always the situation, with rivalry between the two professions over many decades.

“Financial planners now seek to provide taxation advice and need further education, and accountants must also qualify to provide financial advice.

“Often, accountants acquire a planning practice and retain the staff, offering a more diverse service. Similarly, planners have been acquiring accounting practices to do the same. The more services you can offer a client, the more likely a client will be retained.”

There are just over 15,000 financial advisers in Australia, but accountants are present in far greater numbers at around 200,000.

Birt believes this trend will continue in the future and could involve merger activity, such as Invest Blue seeking to expand its offering with an accountancy model. Speaking to Money Management in November, Invest Blue managing director David Stephen said accountancy is an area where he feels the firm is lacking and could be an acquisition opportunity.

In other cases, accountants could be a source of people changing careers to pivot into financial advice. 

“We believe accountants and financial planners will cohabitate because the accounting industry’s foray into the planning industry is only starting,” Birt remarked.

“Over the next decade, Radar Results believes the accounting industry will fully embrace financial planning, taking over and merging with many financial planning practices. In reverse, many financial planners will want to acquire accounting practices, leading to purchasers paying an increased price multiple.”

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