There's a need to change the conversation away from reform and instead talk about evolution.

By Ben McAlary


With the advice sector undergoing considerable change delegates at the ‘Advice on the brink’ session at the FSC Summit heard first-hand the stress and anxiety that many financial advisers are experiencing around the increased education standards required of them in the new world of financial advice in Australia.

“We have set up a hotline for members to use that have mental health issues,” says Dante De Gori, CEO, FPA. “The new Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) exam has been the greatest source of anxiety for advisers. However, at the end of the day we believe the exam is fair and reasonable.”

“While 90% of financial advisers who have sat the exam have passed, we are extremely encouraged that the Government is considering extending the timelines around existing advisers meeting the education standards.”

Other panellists echoed the sediments around adviser anxiety.

“It’s a very stressful time for advisers but we are rallying around our people and supporting them through the change,” said Alex Wade, CEO Australian Wealth Management, AMP.

“We are well aware that it has been a challenging time for advisers and the industry as a whole. We are working through the legislation agenda and it is important that we not only meet it but exceed it. We want advisers to not only survive but thrive into the future,” said Nerida Cole, Managing Director, Head of Advice, Dixon Advisory.

On the topic of technology and the disruption being felt throughout the industry Wade was optimistic about the future of the industry in the next two to three years.

“We (AMP) took the decision to reshape our aligned advice network to allow us to create a new network of more professional, efficient and productive practices.”

“We are now focusing on retaining the talent in our adviser network and investing heavily in digital to support their businesses and our desire to reach Australians in a way that suits them. We continue to believe in the value of face-to-face advice and are investing in this network,” said Wade.

“I think we look at technology the wrong way. Critical thinking and emotional connection is the key. In three year’s time, I believe that the professionalism of the industry will be heightened thanks to the development and enforcement of the Code of Ethics. It will be a trusted profession that will be better equipped, thanks to technology, to be able to support Australians through their life stages,” said De Gori.

“Technology has its role in making advice more affordable, but there will always be a place for face-to-face personal advice that works hand in hand with digital solutions,” said Cole.

The digital, commercial and education evolution that the industry is experiencing means advice will be affordable and accessible to all Australians – a critical success factor according to all panellists.

“The future of advice is strong and the need for advice is strong. More advice delivered to more people in more ways is the ultimate goal,” De Gori said.

“The greater the demand we have from consumers around fee options means that we are on the right track to be able to deliver the right advice to the right people,” Cole said.

“It’s all about the evolution of the industry. Younger advisers are sick of hearing about reform. The more we can collaborate and have one message (in Canberra) the better,” added Wade.


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