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Affinia strategy ‘backfired’ say former advisers

Pivotal’s rebranding as Affinia and adoption of a new business strategy has ‘backfired’ and caused advisers to leave the dealer group, former advisers have told ifa.

According to multiple former Pivotal authorised representatives, who did not wish to be identified, the TAL-backed licensee has experienced an exodus of advisers since its re-launch as Affinia in February and reported introduction of a new fee structure.

“I left Pivotal because the fee structure was ridiculous; the services they were offering just didn’t justify such a hefty annual fee,” one adviser said, listing the new annual licence fee at $30,000.

“[The group] was trying to reach bigger fish with this new mission statement but all they did was send their existing advisers packing,” he said. “The plan backfired.”

Another former Pivotal authorised representative said that 16 advisers have now left the group, mainly in response to the licence fee hike.

“The restructure saw them double their fees and it just wasn’t sustainable,” she said. “The worst part is they didn’t tell us they were going to up them until the official launch [of Affinia].”

“If they hadn’t upped the fees we’d probably still be there,” she said.

Affinia CEO Craig Parker told ifa the strategy is deliberate and is the “right thing for our licensee and for the Affinia family.”

“Our ambition is for Affinia to be the number one choice for risk-specialist advisers in Australia, and we have a clearly-defined strategy to make that happen,” he said.

“As part of our transformation as a licensee, we acknowledge that the new world of Affinia is starkly different to our previous licensee model.

“To this, some of our former advisers have chosen to move to other licensees where they feel that their business practices are better aligned.

“I respect this and wish them well,” he added.

Parker said Affinia has received considerable interest from risk-specialised advisers, and is in the process of bringing 30 new advisers into the group.