Ipac EP named first among equals

Ipac Equity Partner’s unique business model, which sees advisers operating under a equity stake fee-for-service model, has seen it take out the third annual Money Management/CoreData Dealer Group of the Year award.

The award, the product of amalgamating Money Management’s Top 100 Dealer Groups research with CoreData’s Star Index, saw the major dealer groups not only being assessed against factors such as planner numbers and funds under advice, but also external and internal planner perceptions.

This year’s runner-up was Commonwealth Financial Planning, followed by ipac Financial Planning and then Charter Financial Planning.

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Commonwealth Financial Planning emerged as the top-rated bank-based dealer group.

Last year’s winner, Macquarie, was excluded from this year’s study due to insufficient adviser participation and the consequent lack of an adequate database, while last year’s runner-up, RBS Morgans, slipped to eighth place due to a poor rating with respect to unfavourable external industry perceptions.

The survey process has revealed the degree to which National Australia Bank’s position would be enhanced if it were to be successful in its ongoing bid to gain control of AXA Asia Pacific, with four of the AXA-related planning groups making the top five, while MLC/Garvan sat just outside the top five.

Equally, the degree to which an AMP Limited acquisition of AXA AP would change the underlying structure of the industry was also revealed with the reasonably strong performance of AMP Financial Planning and Hillross.

According to CoreData’s Kristen Paech, the most successful dealer groups were those that managed to maintain both positive internal and external ratings, however, Commonwealth Financial Planning was also buoyed by the high level of its funds under advice.

In similar fashion to other years, the big dealer groups with names very well known to the public did not top the list using the Money Management/CoreData methodology.

“From an internal perspective, groups like ipac Equity Partner, Commonwealth Financial Planning, Charter Financial Planning and RBS Morgans are doing a good job of satisfying the needs of their own advisers,” Paech said. “However, for some of these groups, the perception of the external adviser community is vastly different to the experience of their own advisers, meaning their ability to recruit new advisers may be hampered.

“For example, Commonwealth Financial Planning, RBS Morgans, Securitor, Apogee, and AFS are potentially failing to attract advisers because of the misconceptions of advisers outside the group,” she said. “On the other hand, while groups like AXA, MLC/Garvan, AMP, Godfrey Pembroke and Hillross have strong reputations in the external market, the experience of their own advisers could be improved."

Paech said it was clear from the research that those dealer groups which managed to garner broad appeal while still ensuring their own networks were being looked after and were highly satisfied would be well-placed to face the raft of changes set to hit the advice industry over the coming years.

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