As advisers increasingly look at making the client the main focus of their work, licensees are adopting the same kind of thinking; but their client is the adviser.
AFA CEO Brad Fox says the licensee space has been getting more competitive over the past couple of years, as licensees review their offering in an attempt to attract advisers to their firm. Licensees will be looking at how they can help advice businesses to engage their clients better, how they can help advisers with changes around fee disclosure statements and implement technology to make them into a better business.
“We’re seeing licensees looking for how they can do that better than they’ve done it before,” says Fox.
Guardian Advice executive manager Simon Harris says there have been two trends visible in the advice sector of late; consolidation of mid-sized adviser firms, and; disaggregation, as boutique-style firms with a clear proposition, thrive.
However, he says the trend of consolidation has been overwhelming and that they have seen an increasing number of independent advisers looking to join their firm over the past six months. “We’re seeing smaller, non-institutional dealer groups really needing to consolidate and I think that’s caused advisers to fly to security,” says Harris.
He says there are a number of things that advisers should take into account when looking for a larger dealer group to join:
A cultural fit: “That’s the first filter advisers tell us; they’re looking for a group of like-minded advisers.”
Your business, your way: Harris says it is important for advisers and clients to come up with their own payment method, so he doesn’t become too prescriptive on how they must charge their clients.
A good breadth of products: To make sure advisers can provide all the solutions that their clients need.
Back-office support: So that advisers can spend more time with their clients. This can include: developing websites, support with a paraplanning team, technical services team, research team for products and strategic asset allocation and preparing SoAs.
Security: Advisers are looking for a firm that has a large balance sheet and can support them through regulatory changes.