SIV success hinges on advisers

Applicants for the government's Significant Investor Visa (SIV) program will require financial planning services to secure permanent residency, says one migration expert.

Migration Alliance founder and director Liana Allan told ifa that not only is there an opportunity for retail financial advisers in the controversial SIV scheme, but that they may be crucial to the program's success.

"It would be close on impossible to assist a migrating client without referring the client to a qualified financial planner, due to the complexity of rules around investment advice," Ms Allan said.

"If they do not have this advice then their visa application is likely to be refused. The Department of Immigration is looking for a properly executed, well thought out investment strategy."

As a result, Ms Allan said there is significant scope for referral arrangements between financial planners and migration agents, but warned that advisers should look for agents who are certified with an accrediting body with a code of conduct.

"Due to the rules around commissions and referral fees, the partnership model which is most prevalent is the direct referral method," Ms Allan said.

"Mitigating risk of visa refusal due to poor financial and investment advice is always a priority, so agents tend to deal with planners that they trust or whom Migration Alliance trust and recommend."

Under the SIV program, high net worth foreign investors can fast-track applications for residency by investing a minimum of $5 million in Australian "complying investments".

The government recently announced changes to the complying investment criteria, mandating greater minimum investment in venture capital, small cap and start-up equity funds.

Look out for an extended feature article on the SIV financial planning opportunity in the July edition of ifa magazine.

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