War between accountants and advisers is over, say experts

Predictions of a “territorial dispute” between accountants and financial advisers have not come about, with consumers becoming more aware of the differences between the services, according to a group of industry experts.

In a statement, consultant Jim Stackpool, founder of Certainty Advice Group, said that “across all media outlets, experts were expecting thousands more than the few hundred accounting firms that applied for their own financial services licence in advance of the June 30 exemption cut-off date”.

“The reason they got it wrong? It’s simple – the advice is different,” he said.

Mr Stackpool said Australians today are more informed and aware of the differences between accountants and financial advisers. This has been achieved because accountants have built trust with their clients.


Scott Farmer, principal of advice firm Bravium, said gathering trust is the big issue.

“Accountants aren’t thinking about us and our role as financial advisers. They will never do anything to endanger their trusted role, so logically they will focus on their accounting expertise,” he said.

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“Any professional dispute has been overstated for years.”

Meanwhile, Travis Martin, principal wealth adviser at The Wealth Designers, said any perceived disputes had more to do with issues of conflicted advice models inherent in vertically-integrated operations, which have damaged financial advisers’ reputation.

“We just don’t see disputes in our world because we don’t have any of the industry’s incentive barriers affecting our advice,” he said.

“Like the medical profession, we seek to collaborate and find solutions that work for the client, the accountant and our firm.”

Annette Pulbrook, principal adviser at FinBiz Advisers, added that any disputes between accountants and advisers usually involved financial product-based firms.

“Those financial planning or accounting firms fighting over the same clients are destined for a frustrating future. The rising level of professionalism will overwhelm them if they really believe their competition is one another,” she said.

"Their biggest competition is their mindset and old advice habits which will just keep them busy but less productive every year.”




War between accountants and advisers is over, say experts
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