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Grandfathering aids new licensee

A newly-formed non-institutional dealer group has identified several unintended benefits of the FOFA grandfathering provisions.

Having been granted an AFSL in June 2013 and with the group's first authorised rep on board in September, the directors of new dealer group AvalonFS say while the FOFA legislation seemed like a “challenge” at first, the grandfathering provisions actually turned out to be a positive.

“On gaining the AFSL, FOFA’s grandfathering issues presented AvalonFS with some unique challenges to a new dealer group,” AvalonFS co-founder and CEO Phil Alexander told ifa.

“Interestingly, this resulted in being a positive for AvalonFS because the planners that wanted to join us were at the very top of the financial advisory tree and were already fee-for-service only.”

Describing the group’s four affiliated practices and five authorised representatives as “[basketball star] Michael Jordans” of the industry in terms of quality of advice provision, Mr Alexander – a founder of former TAL-aligned licensee Pivotal [now Affinia] – said AvalonFS differs from other licensees on its compliance offering.

“AvalonFS applied for its AFSL on the basis of being a ‘compliance centric’ dealer group,” he said. “The majority of dealer groups have been started by sales-oriented managers and corporations.”

AvalonFS’s focus on compliance and technical backing will help it to avoid the fate of some non-institutional licensees shut down by ASIC, Mr Alexander said, pledging to avoid a focus on “sales, FUM and ongoing commissions”.

The dealer group will be headed by a board that includes Mr Alexander, former Minter Ellison and CBA compliance consultant Neal Hornsby and Integratech managing director John Prowse – a board that comprises a combined 90 years of financial services experience, according to Mr Alexander.

AvalonFS has budgeted to have 30 financial advisers under its AFSL by the end of 2014.