Treasury shake-up 'important' for small licensees

Small licensees could be the big winners from Kelly O'Dwyer taking on the dual roles of Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Small Business in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's new-look cabinet, according to several advice industry experts.

GPS Wealth managing director Graham Evans told ifa that for Ms O'Dwyer - who replaced former Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson and former Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Sunday - to hold both portfolios was a "really important combination" and will be a "great benefit to licensees".

"A lot of providers in the marketplace are small business [owners]," Mr Evans said.

"I think the bigger institutions can pretty well look after themselves these days – they have the resources, the people and the lobbying power, whereas the small business owner really struggles to get the right amount of input. For her to be appointed in this role we think is great," he said.

FPA chief executive Mark Rantall agreed and said Ms O'Dwyer brings an important understanding of financial services to her role.

"The dual appointment as Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Small Business could provide benefits in relation to understanding the pressures regulations place, particularly on small licensees," he said.

Managing director of non-aligned dealer group MyPlanner Australia, Philippa Sheehan, said that small business owners may now have more bargaining power.

"Coupling of these two portfolios hopefully will mean that she will consider small business (including financial planning businesses) in any work that the Turnbull government will look to consider in coming months," she said.

Synchron director Don Trapnell also weighed in, saying that holding both roles would prove beneficial to understanding the concerns small business owners have with the Life Insurance Framework.

"One of the biggest challenges facing our industry under the Life Insurance Framework (LIF) reforms was helping the government understand the potentially devastating effect the reforms would have on the small businesses of financial advisers," Mr Trapnell said.

"Ms O'Dwyer will have a big picture perspective of the advice profession and the impact, both macro and micro, that those reforms can and will have on advice practices."

Mr Trapnell said Synchron's Michael Harrison has already contacted Ms O'Dwyer about the effects the insurance reforms will have on small businesses, and that the dealer group has further plans to get in contact with the new minister.

"We believe Ms O'Dwyer is across the LIF reforms and we will be making representations to her at the earliest opportunity," he said.

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