This financial planner decided that going it alone was the only way to avoid being seen as a salesperson.
Having moved from accounting into financial planning, Westwood Group director Peter Rowsell decided that he would begin his advice journey with the support of a major dealer group.
“It’s an easy way to run a business, because a dealer group gives you a lot of support. It gives you training, it gives you compliance solutions, it’s packaged up and you can focus very much on doing what you want to be doing,” he told the audience at the ICAA national SMSF Conference 2012.
He went on to explain, however, that the desire to be independent led him to go about applying for his own Australian Financial Services License (AFSL).
“As the business developed, one of the things that we really wanted to do was to be able to – hand on heart – say that we were truly independent. And that was an issue that we thought existed with a large dealer group,” he said. “The majority of them are owned by large financial institutions”.
“And financial planning doesn’t have a good reputation out there with people. They expect you’re going to try to sell them a product,” he added. “And so, by wanting to focus purely on the giving of advice, we wanted there to be no link between what we said and financial institutions.
“So that was probably one the main drivers for originally going after our own license”.
Rowsell also wanted to take a more hands on approach to managing his clients’ funds, and found that this wasn’t an option under a dealer group.
“The other aspect of it is what you can actually do,” he explained. “We run a managed discretionary account service for the managing of clients’ investments. And that’s not something that we could do under the approved products list of a large dealer group.”
Pros and cons
But that’s not to say that Rowsell has dismissed the concept of dealer groups altogether. He said that it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of going solo – as well as what a dealer group can offer your business.
“It comes down to what it is that you want to do,” he said.
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