How well have dealer groups handled COVID-19?

15 May 2020

Most financial advisers under dealer groups are satisfied with the support and guidelines they have brought during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking to Money Management, Verve Group director and senior wealth adviser, Matthew Carberry, said overall he was happy with his dealer group as it brought peace of mind with what was going on in the market.

On COVID-19 business continuity plans (BCP), Carberry said his dealer group were useful in the sense that it had given comments, guidelines, and feedback when it came to regulatory changes, and advice provisions and how it “looks like in this new world”.

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“Their guidelines have been quite good and there are no questions on our end on how we need to roll things out,” he said.

A Money Management survey found that 40% of advisers found their dealer group had dealt with their COVID-19 BCP plans either ‘very well’ or ‘good’. Another 50% said it was ‘average’.

The survey’s respondents said the type of support they were looking for from their dealer group in terms of uncertainty were efficiency tools, articles to send to clients, guidance on how to streamline business processes, and more input from their practice manager.

One respondent said they wanted their dealer group to “back off on some of the strict requirements in place with deadline while we work through this [COVID-19] and support our clients. Now is when clients really need us to concentrate on their needs not that of the Australian financial services licence (AFSL) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) requirements”.

Another said: “My expectations of support from my dealer evaporated many years ago over many issues. You must remember, most dealer groups have different goals to that of a privately-owned financial planning practice”.

Price Advice’s chief executive, Brett Schatto, said he was happy under a dealer group as it covered 20% of process in the business and this allowed more time to look after clients.

He also said his dealer group was good in interpreting the stimulus packages announced by the Government as a response to COVID-19. He said the dealer group also create factsheets that were useful when answering client’s queries.

“It’s great because we don’t have to reinvent that, and some of the content clients have been reading and watching from the government can be confusing,” he said.

“So, then they call us, and this also helps to deepen the relationship.”

The survey also found that while 50% of respondents said they were happy with their dealer group but 20% were ‘looking to change’.

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