At the same time as internal surveys conducted by the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) have pointed to an upcoming exodus of advisers, Money Management’s Top 100 Planning Groups survey has revealed planner numbers have rarely been higher.
The Top 100 survey, full details of which will be published in next week’s print edition of Money Management, has found that despite all the turbulence created by the Royal Commission, the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority regime and the banks exiting their wealth businesses, the total number of planners hired by the largest financial planning groups went up to over 16,000, from 14,700 the year before.
The Top 100 data, overseen by Money Management’s associate editor, Oksana Patron, represents a snapshot of the industry as it currently stands and does not take account of factors such as the impact of the rollout of the FASEA regime and the imposition of a professional year, but it does show that despite a number of the major banks and AMP rolling back planner numbers, this did not result in an overall decline across the industry.
Groups aligned to the Big Four and AMP saw a departure of close to 800 planners this year, a much higher number compared to last year’s combined loss of 600 advisers by the same firms, the survey showed.
The Top 100 largest financial planning groups reported having a total of just over 16,000 qualified employees to deliver financial advice, while outside of the Top 100, close to 46 per cent of groups reported they had between two and 10 planners on board.
The question raised by the Top 100 data is whether it reflects a peak in planner numbers ahead of what FPA and AFA polling suggests could be as many as 25 per cent of planners, particularly older planners, leaving the industry.