Is your circuitry slowly becoming disconnected? In 2016, it’s time to reconnect with this space oddity that is financial planning….As we mourn the passing of David Bowie, his life is a reminder of the need to evolve to maintain relevance - a man that kept up with his fans and kept bringing in new fans decade after decade. A true innovator.
Have we kept our New Year's resolutions so far and how do these resolutions relate to maintaining relevancy or have some of them been busted already? With the sun out and some recent memories of relaxation in the mind bank, some of us might find it a bit hard to click back into gear for the working year. As they say the early bird catches the worm, so we’d like to give you a little reminder of some of the key things that will be happening in our industry space this year to help ease your thoughts back to the business of financial advice and ensure you remain relevant and connected in this changing landscape.
After the announcement of higher education standards in 2015, the government is proposing all advisers must meet a minimum ‘relevant tertiary degree’ by 2019, which is Level 7 qualifications on the Australian Qualification Framework. With 75% of advisers currently not “appropriately” qualified, education institutions will be offering an array of options to help with this transition.
The government has also proposed that advisers:
- pass an exam
undertake continuing professional development
undertake a professional year
subscribe to a code of ethics
All of these things are aimed at improving competency levels throughout the industry.
Many within the industry feel this could be overkill and in fact force many good and competent planners out of the industry, resulting in a far greater detriment to consumers. Brad Fox, CEO of the AFA, in comments made to Money Management, suggests the new proposals will be an unnecessary impost on many of the more experienced advisers in the profession - “Older, experienced advisers who are already recognised with a strong and untarnished track record of giving quality advice, who have abided by professional association codes, and who have shown a long-term commitment to keeping their professional development current, should not be subject to unnecessary red-tape to re-validate their competence”.
Whilst it remains to be seen whether a relevant AQF7 degree becomes legislated, there are obvious and maybe not so obvious benefits to gaining further qualification. Aside from the obvious up-skilling that you get with more qualifications, there is also a supplementary benefit. Qualifications can be helpful in attracting new clients as they add value and transparency to the business. Qualifications can also help validate your business for existing clients.
At present Adviser Ratings is incorporating all the qualifications details from the ASIC registry for every single adviser in Australia. This will provide the opportunity for advisers to showcase their qualifications and for consumers to easily check these details if it is important for them.
Other than continued education, further developments regarding technology are sure to be a big feature of 2016 and is a must in your business to stay connected with your customers. For financial planners, the use of various new technology has the potential to bring about increased productivity and gains in service efficiency. Tech tools are set to help with diverse areas such as CRM, file sharing and virtual meetings. Noting this trend, Adviser Ratings will continue to improve and add to our platform. New developments which will allow for industry and consumer benchmarking comparisons and more effective client engagement tools are on the way. With more detailed information on clients and industry, better relationships can be formed and more satisfying services can be provided.
These are just a couple of things to keep in mind as we kick start the new year and give it some revs before shifting to first gear. Financial advisers need not fear any unsettling changes in the industry. If you think this is the way things are going, it makes sense to be open and explore what new opportunities such changes may bring, so you don't become another Major Tom. We will certainly be doing all we can to make sense of, and help compliment the industry as we all move forward through 2016!
by Angus Woods, Managing Director, Adviser Ratings