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Former Westpac-aligned practice sets up own AFSL

Formerly Westpac-aligned advice firm Experience Wealth has set up its own AFSL in a move to ramp up its focus on Gen Y and Gen X clients.

According to a statement by Pathway Licensee Services – a subsidiary of the Netwealth Advice Group, which helped Experience Wealth gain a licence – the new AFSL will trade as Black Sheep Advisers.

Experience Wealth had been licensed under BT's Securitor since March 2014, ASIC's adviser register shows. The firm's decision to branch out is an effort to begin offering innovative advice solutions, the statement said.

"Our business is focused on providing advice services to clients in the 30-something demographic group, and to be relevant in this market you need to be innovative both in the types of advice you offer and also in the way you deliver that advice," said Experience Wealth chief executive, Steve Crawford.

"We realised about six months ago that to continue to innovate in this market in an efficient way, we needed to break away from the traditional licensee model which has to move much more slowly when innovating due [to] the large number of practices they have to cater to."

Mr Crawford added it was a "big decision" to obtain a licence, given the significant governance and compliance responsibilities that come with it.

"After reviewing the market we decided to partner with Pathway to provide us with the skills, training and capabilities that we needed, such as an optimised XPlan solution, as well as specialised compliance and governance support," he said.


Pathway head of governance and advice Phil Anderson said he has noticed a demand from advisers who are looking for greater control and the freedom to focus on their clients' needs.

"The fear of compliance restrictions and increased responsibility has been holding people back, but pleasingly, the market is becoming increasingly aware of the various solutions available, and which we provide, to help them meet their obligations," he said.

Delays in resolving issues with "grandfathering" initially had caused complications for financial advisers changing licensees, and also in setting up their own licence, the statement said.

With those issues now resolved, enabling advisers to set up their own licensee without grandfathering setbacks, there is now an increasing demand from advisers for the benefits of greater control and increased flexibility, the statement said.