Best of times, worst of times for advice

At a roundtable yesterday talk turned to the current state of the financial advice industry and the opportunities that exist alongside the challenges.

Stephen Miller, adviser at GSFM, pointed out: "The whole regulatory landscape as a consequence of Hayne and a reinvigorated ASIC and APRA is undergoing major shifts. I'm not sure that we know where it all ends but it means that it's an entirely different landscape that we're dealing with."

Michael Hutton, partner and personal wealth manager at HLB Mann Judd agreed with Miller but said that he is also seeing the current environment as full of opportunity.

"Following the Royal Commission, all the uncertainties out there are enough to make you break a cold sweat," Hutton said.

"We're in the situation where there's a great need for advice but then there's a lot of advisers getting out of advice."

He expressed disappointment with Australia's big banks exiting financial advice.

"The banks are doing their best to get rid of their obligations and liabilities as fast as they can. If it means writing a cheque for $1 billion so be it. If they can get it off their agenda the share price goes up usually," Hutton said.

"It's a shame, it's a real shame they couldn't control the advice given."

Following the Royal Commission, he explained, the increase in scrutiny on compliance has resulted in immense stress for advisers that has at times gone unnoticed.

"But, at the same time there are so many people needing advice - so we're in a situation where it is the best of times and the worst of times," Hutton said.

"It is a great opportunity for a good advisory business."

Hutton pointed to the Royal Commission resulting in increased awareness and low interest rates as twin forces creating demand for financial advice.

He explained that people who used to be able to rely on term deposits and similar products for income are now looking for investment solutions in the low interest rate environment.

Those clients need good advice to understand that they may be moving up the risk curve in order to generate income with interest rates so low, Hutton explained.

Read more: Royal CommissionMichael HuttonStephen MillerAPRAASICAustraliaGSFMHayneHLB Mann Judd
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