Over 40% of advisers looking to leave industry due to stress

Over 40% of financial advisers are considering leaving the profession due to stress, and another 17% are unsure if they will stay, according to a report.

The ‘Australian Financial Advisers Wellbeing Report 2021’  by The e-lab's Dr Adam Fraser and Deakin University's Dr John Molineux found that in terms of wellbeing, financial advisers scored far worse on the majority of the survey’s measures than other stressful and demanding occupations.

The report said advisers scored the worst in:

  • Worst mental health (this also included comparison to the average Australian);
  • Worst wellbeing;
  • Lowest levels of flow (a high-performance state where you are absorbed in your work);
  • Highest stress levels;
  • Highest feeling of overload;
  • Highest impact of stress on them (in terms of considering leaving the profession, impact on their medical health, negative impact on sleep quality, chance of being overweight, risk of heart disease);
  • Lowest rates of incorporating innovation into their work;
  • Lowest in psychological capital (a psychological construct made up of resilience, hope, optimism, confidence);
  • Lowest in adaptive performance (the ability to respond and adapt to change); and
  • Second lowest levels of work-life balance (school principals were the only group with lower scores).
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Out of a survey of 700 advisers, the report found adviser work tasks were dominated by client meetings (16.37%), administration (14.88%), compliance (14.35%), advising (12.27%), and emails (11.51%).

“Of note is that administration and compliance is nearly 30% of all work tasks. Very little time is spent in new business and strategy,” the report said.

“The extent of administration, compliance and FASEA [Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority] requirements looks to be a barrier to the achievement of business growth and productivity within the industry.”

However, the report also found that financial advisers who were “thriving” spent less time in administration (43% less) and compliance activities (97% less) and were able to devote more time to client meetings (34% more), new business (83% more), and developing themselves and others.

The report also found that the status of FASEA qualifications was a significant factor in results as:

  • Fully qualified advisers had higher work-family balance, had less stress and less stressful issues, higher wellbeing, less impact of stress and did much more self-development; and
  • Work overload was higher for advisers not yet qualified.

“These results show that there are benefits to being proactive and taking early action to meet the education standards imposed on advisers,” it said.

The report recommended that advisers:

  • Invest in psychological flexibility, adaptive performance, and psychological capital;
  • Seek help and engage in industry support services;
  • Be an active member of an industry association;
  • Find a good mentor and/or coach;
  • Engage in regular recovery activities such as exercise and mindfulness;
  • Where possible, employ staff to undertake administration activities; and
  • Be clear with what was about work and what was not.

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So...anyone surprised by these results?


you must not work in the industry then.


Would be nice to know who ran it. Not sure if Advisers would be exaggerating results here. Although as most are self employed it probably is generally the highest level stress of any job due to that. do they really have the worst work-life balance? Maybe bc they can’t switch off, but plenty I know are on holidays pretty regularly

Thanks for the laugh. I know a lot of self-employed advisers. Taking holidays regularly?....ha ha ha. How many hours do they work a day? How often do they work weekends? Do they take lunch breaks? I'm guessing they work far more hours over the course of a year than you do. Considerably more and if they manage to get away from time to time to destress, that's a damn good thing.

Are you joking? Who are these planners that are on holidays pretty regularly? We have had a national exam, 4 units of bridging subjects at least, massive changes in the way we operate and that's just in the past 3 years, give us a break! I haven't had a holiday in over 10 years, trying to build a business, trying to raise a family, pay a mortgage and also keeping my clients happy, whilst at the same time facing rising costs , and huge changes in compliance related and admin work. The only reason I stay is that my clients need me, and I need them. Do you get the picture now?

Probably the success ones! If you haven’t had a holiday in ten years, maybe you need a business coach, or maybe you don’t want to be at home, or maybe money is your priority. Advisers, who have a work life balance have clients holding a relationship with all staff so they can take time off.

Maybe you need to learn a few things about life and business before you pop your mouth off ok, everyone is different. Maybe I am happy to forgo holidays to provide for my family and build a successful business. A business coach indeed, what a nerve you have. Work life balance isn't about taking holidays, its a day to day thing, I know as I have it in my life. Are you even an adviser to be commenting on this subject, or just a fool with nothing better to do?

So now you have work life balance? So what’s the prob? Why so triggered? You’re right, everyone has a different circumstances and opinions. So why so offended by a differing opinion to yours, yet confusingly you now say you have work life balance.

The successful advisers are those that are already dealing exclusively with high net worth clients and charging high fees, there really is no other way in the current regulatory environment.

The day I accepted that it is no longer commercially viable to deal with 85% of Australians and dumped most of my lower fee paying clients as well as increasing my fees, was the day my mental health improved significantly. It wasn’t an easy decision, I had an ongoing relationship with many of them over many years but they were understanding when I explained the costs now involved in providing advice.

I am now making less money, but I am able to now focus on expanding the business (though most can't afford my advice) and have the ability for a work / life balance. I am lucky as my business is large enough to have the scope to be able to turn off a decent amount of revenue and still be profitable (though the money isn’t really that great considering the unlimited risk).

I feel sorry for those that are being run into insolvency, it would have been good if the Royal commission had have actually lead to a proper review of the industry, but there was no such thing. There has been no attempt to improve the industry, just collective punishment. There is no end in sight from the regulatory onslaught, no one is listening, and no one cares. Increasing fees (if you aren’t already charging high fees) is the only means of survival.

Iron Mike, my 5,000 number is 100% based on the contents of your post. most are either putting their head in the sand and not addressing it and the rest are hoping that things will improve. and it won't. it will actually get much much worse in the coming days and months.

in the end i will be proven right. 5,000 it will be.

Serious? A academic survey of 700 advisers paints the picture, but you still want to refer to your anecdotal evidence because you know a few planners on holiday.

An academic survey? They didn’t even say who ran it. Was it conflicted or independent. An online survey has inherit problems and all surveys suffer from bias. Have you seen the questions? I just have an opinion. At least examine the survey before you swallow it. It’s hardly an accurate long term picture under covid anyhow.

It was run by e-lab founder Adam Fraser and Deakin University senior lecturer John Molineux. Sure beats anecdotal evidence....

Maybe, maybe not. I’ll check the questions out and let you know :)

Glad someone finally updated the article to reference the authors. A small formatting issue though in the rush.

Frydenberg, Hume, ODwyer making the LNP be the party that hates small business & Advisers.
And topped off with out of control ASIC, Ms Press, etc.
Adviser persecution and destruction success.

Annual opt in anyone? Add that to the formula and see how the answers stack up. I figure with FASEA December 31 this year and Enhanced FDS transition ending June 30th next year, it will be interesting to see how the mental health of all of us compares to right now. We'll either feel a lot worse or come out stronger than ever. Ask me again in 12 months.

so we are down 30% already from 28,500 to 19,800 with 100 per week reducing each week as we close in on Jan 2022.

this survey confirms what I have been saying, countdown to 5,000 has begun.

I heard a rumour that you are the only one predicting 5,000 advisers will be left.

it's true. all others are pollyanna's who think people will just continue on with whatever may come and will just accept it as their fate.

there comes a point in time where one will think it's too just too much. and it is far too much.

As frustrating as it has been, some just have a lot more mental fortitude than yourself, 'the Oracle'.

it's not fortitude pal. it's stupidity. as Einstein said, "only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former"

I am also sure of one thing, the smartest ones have already left.

so are you calling me and everyone else that is still in the industry STUPID?

Oracle you are another quitter, just a negative poster. Arent you happy with your life? If so move on, if not get help, but for mercies sake take your holiier than thou attitude and shove it. Im sick and tired of this oh the smartest people have already left crap, ill give you a tip the smartest ones stayed and are making good money. If you opened your eyes you would see that. Go oracle elsewhere, maybe you could predict the lotto numbers and retire in the bermuda triangle somewhere.

This has all been a planned destruction and reduction of advisers since day one
From BID to fake reports and a dozen other excuses this has always been about reducing the retail advisers to make way for online sales with general advice warnings
Creating a better profit margin for insurers
Or am I the only one that sees this ?

Yes, you are the only one that sees this.

Yes, I reckon you’re right. Only thing is, do people really buy life insurance online except for the dodgy insurance direct stuff?

"The "thriving" advisers were spending the least amount of time on compliance and more time with clients"...that is until these advisers fail the compliance audit for a spelling mistake, or failing to insert "that" paragraph in the SoA or missing form 406 of forms 1092.

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