Fee disclosure putting boutiques under pressure

Boutique planners who have changed licensees over the last year are faced with an administrative nightmare when it comes to fee disclosure, according to WA planner Peter Stewart.

The data from both licensees for each client must be matched, which means many of the processes cannot be automated, said Mr Stewart, principal of Benchmark Consulting.

It will take at least three months until the administrative demands of the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms begin to “settle down”, he said.

“I don't think there's a lot of planners out there who are really, truly FOFA-ready – it's impossible to be so,” said Mr Stewart, pointing to the 'last minute' nature of the regulation.

Benchmark Consulting made the decision to reduce its client base 18 months ago, which is making the transition much less painful, he said.

“I don't know how [boutique planners with a lot of clients] are going to cope with it, quite frankly,” he said.

But the problem is just as stark for the larger dealer groups, some of which have written to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to request a six-month extension for FOFA compliance, according to Mr Stewart.

“Everyone's trying to hunker down and get it all into place, but there's quite a long way to go for a lot of them yet,” he said.

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