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Rise of independents a global trend

Financial planning markets worldwide are trending towards independent advice, a US-based practice management guru has said, amid signs of an Australian non-aligned ascendancy.

Speaking exclusively to ifa, Dave Butler, Texas-based head of global financial adviser services at Dimensional, said the independent advice movement, which took root in the States two decades ago, is becoming a global phenomenon.

“I am seeing the same sort of spirit and energy about transparency and independence we saw 20 years go happening around the globe,” said Mr Butler, who will make the keynote presentation at the upcoming ifa Business Strategy Day.

“We just opened offices in Japan, Singapore and Germany and The Netherlands and in all these cases the focus on the adviser side has been a movement away from focus on financial products to independent, transparent advice and that’s been our mode,” he said.

“I’m fully confident that 10, 20 years out we will get the same sort of penetration globally that we saw in the US.”

Mr Butler revealed that the independent advice movement in the US has become so popular – with both advisers and consumers – that Wall Street investment houses are putting strategies in place to “make themselves look more independent”.

The global financial crisis and increased government regulation have spurred the global movement towards independence, Mr Butler suggested, with consumers questioning for the first time whether having a major financial brand attached to an adviser might be a “negative” rather than a “positive”, as previously assumed.

At the same time, the fee-for-service expert said that developing a sense of community and having access to peer-to-peer learning are key challenges for advisers in the independent environment.

The ifa Business Strategy Day will outline the paths to success in an independent model. To hear more from Dave Butler and other expert speakers visit: http://www.businessstrategyday.com.au/