Accountants body to boost referal capabilites

The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) is looking to broaden its online financial advice referral service over the next year to drive interest in the product.

The IPA said while feedback regarding the service has been positive, it plans to focus efforts in 2013 on creating further awareness of what the product offers.

"The word is out there and it's slowly building," IPA executive general manager of representation and innovation Vicki Stylianou said.

"The increase has been by a few percentage points a month, so it's doing well in terms of people accessing it and this year we will be ramping up the promotion."

The referral service was launched in June 2012 to give IPA members access to local and qualified financial advisers through both National Australia Bank's MLC and the Axa/AMP financial advice networks. It allows IPA members to search for financial advisers from search criteria that include location, scope of advice, size of practice and client segment.

"We've received positive feedback from members who have accessed it - that it's easy to use, simple and straightforward, but when we get a bit more critical mass we'll have another look at the criteria we've used just to make sure it sort of cuts through and makes a mark," Ms Stylianou said.

"We want to make sure the members are having a good experience and are able to access planners, but it's early days."

IPA has said that with the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms becoming mandatory on July 1 this year, interest in the service will only increase.

"I think as more and more comes out on FOFA and as we get closer it will make a big difference to the take-up numbers," Ms Stylianou said.

"With a lot of members, they won't do anything until they have to, so I think FOFA will be a big trigger."

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