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Suncorp predicts insto 'breakaway'

Financial advisers aligned to the big four banks and AMP are increasingly attracted to licensees offering a less “prescriptive” advice philosophy, according to a Suncorp dealer group executive.

Suncorp head of dealerships Simon Harris told ifa that while there has been a strong “flight to security” by non-aligned advisers seeking institutional backing in recent years – a trend he anticipates will continue – there is also a new trend emerging whereby some institutional advisers are looking for a happy medium.

“With the consolidation by the larger institutions, like the big four banks and maybe AMP, you are seeing breakaway groups looking for a less prescriptive approach while also maintaining that institutional backing,” Mr Harris said.

Mr Harris revealed that “between 25 and 50” financial advice firms had expressed interest in joining Suncorp’s dealer channels, Guardian Advice and Suncorp Financial Planning, before FOFA’s grandfathering provisions brought a halt to recruitment.

“For advisers looking to get back to a free trade environment, the amendments are great news,” he said. “We have spoken to a large number of practices from a range of licensees that are interested in us, attracted by our offer, but have been unable to move across to us.”

Mr Harris said the prospective authorised reps were attracted by the “agile” and non-prescriptive nature of Suncorp’s financial planning businesses, including open approved product lists and the lack of in-house asset management products.

“That’s the niche we are playing in – we are secure, we are backed by the 13th largest company on the ASX, but also, we maintain a more boutique feel by virtue of our agility,” he said.