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The hard reality: Advisers are scarcer than you think

By Mike Taylor12 November 2021

There are fewer fully practicing financial advisers than the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) register readily suggests with fewer than 16,000 able to offer advice on managed investments via a wrap account.

Analysis undertaken by WealthData principal, Colin Williams has underscored the degree to which the Financial Adviser Register (FAR) needs to be closely scrutinised to determine precisely how few advisers are actually in practice.

“I often get asked ‘How many real financial advisers are there on the ASIC FAR?’,” Williams said. “The answer is of course, …. It depends how you define a ‘real financial adviser’.”

“The current unedited ASIC FAR shows a total of 18,966 ‘advisers’ (this is different to what we use, currently 18,762 as we remove Timeshare and FX Advisers).”

“Out of 18,966 advisers,  17,057 can offer product advice for super and 15,785 can offer advice for managed investments via an IDPS (Wrap). The lowest for a single offering being Margin Lending (Standard Margin Lending Facility) at 8,999. “

Williams said that when he then mixed the offers, the numbers reduced even further with, for example, only 7,115 advisers being able to offer Risk, Super, IDPs, Securities (Shares) and Margin Lending.

“While quite a few assumptions can be made of this data, there is little doubt that there are a number of ‘advisers’ on the FAR list that should probably not be classed as a Financial Adviser,” he said. “Advice, like many professions can become specialised and it would make sense for some practices to have a focussed team of specialists as opposed to the entire team being generalists.”

Key Movements recorded by WealthData this week:

Net Change of advisers (-4)

28 Licensee Owners had net gains for 36 advisers

20 Licensee Owners had net losses for (-40) advisers

29 Individual Licensees had net gains of 40

29 Individual Licensees had net losses of (-47)

7 Provisional Advisers (PAs) appointed. This indicates that (-11) experienced advisers dropped off the FAR this week.

Growth This Week

Licensee Owners. Most growth this week was achieved off the back of licensees taking advisers away from IOOF. Highfield Group through its licensee Insight Investments grew by a net 3 with all advisers moving across from Consultum.

6 licensee owners all had net gains of plus 2 each including ASVW Holdings who also got their advisers from Consultum. ASVW has rapidly grown to 20 Advisers with 15 in this financial year. NTTA also gained 2 as did two smaller firms, KDM Financial and Capital Partners.

A further 21 owners had net gains of 1 each including Fortnum, Easton and Castleguard (Lifespan). There was also one new licensee for one advisers.

At the licensee level it was a mixed bag for Centrepoint, gaining 4 new advisers at Alliance Wealth, 3 from Finchoice and 1 switching across from Clearview. However, 4 advisers also left the other Centrepoint licensees bringing it a net zero growth week.

Losses This Week

IOOF lost 13 advisers across 4 licensees including 5 each at Consultum and Actuate Alliance Services (Mostly direct advice as IOOF).

After IOOF a gap to Findex and Mortgage Choice (Finchoice) who were both down (-3). 4 groups down (-2) including AMP and a further 13 groups down net (-1). 1 licensee closed this week for 1 adviser.

Year To Date Data

Viewing net change by Licensee Owners with 50 or more Advisers, very little change this week with Oreana at plus 37 and Count plus 7. Three groups on plus 6 including Fortnum after gaining one new adviser this week.

While Oreana are well ahead for groups with 50 or more, smaller firms are rising to the challenge. ASVW Holdings are closing on Oreana with growth of plus 15, just 2 behind Oreana. The chart shows that six of the top 7 growth licensees have less than 35 advisers.

YTD losses still dominated by the larger groups. Looking by Peer Groups – Biz Models on Dashboard 3, the largest losses in percentage terms are across the Accounting – Limited Advice segment (mostly SMSF Advisers) of the market. Worth noting that no new licensees have opened for this sector, while over 100 have commenced for Financial Planning and 14 for Accounting – Financial Planning (Accounting groups that provide holistic advice).

Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor

Managing Editor/Publisher, Financial Newswire

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