Independence a drawcard for switching practice

The director of a practice which recently switched from TAL-owned Affinia to non-aligned MyPlanner has said the perception of impartiality was an important factor in the decision.

James Fraser, director of Jade Wealth Services, told ifa his practice chose to consider moving to a non-institutionally owned dealer group partly “based on the perception of clients and referral partners.”

“Even though Affinia have never put any onus on us to write TAL – they have an open APL, they never put any pressure on any adviser to write TAL – we just wanted to ensure that our clients' best interests were always being perceived in the right way,” he said.

“We are a privately owned company therefore we wanted a privately owned licensee partner and we chose to put them in the mix.”

Nonetheless, he said other criteria were also influential in the choice to join MyPlanner, including culture fit.

“We like the fact that the key stakeholders in the business, the directors and management, had all been planners or currently still were planners or accountants,” he said.

“They've been at the coalface and have provided advice to clients themselves.”

According to Mr Fraser, the practice sought to change its licensing arrangements as it began to expand beyond risk only advice.

“We're a two-year-old business but in the last twelve months we've evolved from just providing risk advice and super advice to providing more holistic financial planning and a lot of more complex advice work in self-managed super funds,” he said.

“We needed to have a dealer group as a partner in place that was able to support that scope of advice and ensuring we were best placed in terms of resources.”

Mr Fraser said Affinia had been receptive to his concerns and helped provide a smooth transition.

“I had close relationships with the responsible managers and I sat on the adviser council, so I had a good understanding of the capabilities and limitations as well.

“Affinia was quite good because they did recognise that they could not support us.

“They agreed and they helped us to move on in the best way they could,” he said.

The comments come as a significant number of advisers express their intention to switch licensees, with more than half of these indicating a preference for non-aligned licensees. 

Interested in joining a new dealer group or operating under your own AFSL? The ifa Business Strategy Day is here to help: http://www.businessstrategyday.com.au/?utm_source=IFA&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=ifastratday

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