Selling up? Big banks aren't financial planners' only option

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An independently-owned financial organisation is taking on the big banks, providing a different option to IFAs who might have been considering selling their business.

Australia’s largest independent platform is combining three of its fully-owned subsidiaries to provide independent advisers with an alternative to selling to the big banks. Earlier this week, Netwealth announced that they were combining Financial Planning Services Australia (FPSA), Bridgeport Financial Services, and Pathway Licensee Services under one reporting structure. Netwealth group managing director Michael Heine says the pooled resources will allow the group to better meet the needs of the IFA market.

“The whole reason behind it is so that we are well-positioned to offer a variety of alternatives to the banks,” says Heine. Advisers now looking to sell entirely can go through Bridgeport; through FPSA for those who still want to operate under their own brand and APL; and through Pathway, where they retain their own licence but are helped out with compliance and regulations.

“We’re becoming an enabler to make sure they can focus on what they do, which is seeing clients and building the financial planning bus and not necessarily getting bogged down in all the compliance software and back office requirement.”

Heine says the dealer group is currently an open APL. “We will be getting slightly more controlled around what is approved and what’; not approved. AT the moment it’s probably too wide…it’s far broader than what you’d expect from the institutions.”

“Regulation is unfortunately driving people into the safety or convenience of the banks, partly because there hasn’t been a real alternative until now,” says Heine. Pathway is currently doing compliance and software work for around 1200 planners and 205 AFSLs.

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