Advisers are worrried that the opt-in process will see their clients orphaned and lost to their rivals, but there could be a neat solution to the opt-in crisis.
This is the assessment of OneView CEO Connie Mckeage, who told Wealth Professional TV that legislation should make a distinction between advice and an ongoing relationship between a financial adviser and their client.
She believes that financial advice industry is seeing opt-in as a case of “if you don’t want advice, you no longer have a relationship with an adviser”, and that this is proving to be a divisive issue.
“I think that is leading to discord within the industry between major platforms, some manufacturers and advisers. Because they’re saying we’re doing all this work, and all of a sudden theoretically there’s an orphan client,” she said.
“The way that we see it differently is that they haven’t opted out of the relationship, they’ve just temporarily opted out of advice. It’s quite different. So that I think is a major distinction and one that we will be lobbying strongly for – is that the adviser still owns the client, that client just doesn’t happen to want advice at that point in time, and they should be remunerated accordingly for servicing the client without giving advice.”
BT Financial group head of platforms Kelly Power added that it’s essential to avoid having an opt-in process that creates a lot of administrative burden and red tape for advisers, as this would effectively increase the cost of advice – making it inaccessible and unaffordable for Australians.
She also believes that opt-in should also be seen as an opportunity for planners to demonstrate the value of the advice that they’re providing.
“So the fact that you have to list all your services, and the costs associated with them, is a real opportunity for you to show your clients ‘I’m providing a valuable service for the charges that you’re paying’,” she said, adding that it’s vital to have your platform provider on your side.
“Look for a platform that’s going to offer you tools around adviser fee disclosure statements, or support in tracking opt-in obligations, or support in managing the communication with your clients. Also look to your platform provider to give you information around what’s happening with regulatory change, and to lobby on your behalf,” said Power.
Click here to view the view the video in full, and hear more on the opt-in issue.
Opt-in: Is Big Brother watching you?
Opt-in: ASIC sounds adviser warning