Adviser regulation the biggest challenge, survey shows

A global adviser survey has revealed regulation and subsequent compliance as a major challenge in operating their businesses, with Australian advisers the most affected.

Vanguard’s 2016 Global Adviser Trends Survey drew on insights from financial advisers in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, the UK and the US.

It found that, among Australian advisers, only one in six advisers said their professional environment had improved, with the remainder saying the profession had become more difficult.

One respondent said, “I’m in complete support of compliance and transparency, but the paperwork and reporting process makes servicing our clients – which should be our priority – almost impossible.”

“The number of changes coming through on a regular basis makes it hard to follow a consistent advice process,” said another respondent.

The survey also found more than six out of 10 Australian respondents (61 per cent) said they saw Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms having a negative influence on their business.

In comparison, just 26 per cent said they saw the changes having a positive influence.

Vanguard Australia national manager for the adviser division, Matt Willis, said the survey not only reflected conversations with advisers about challenges their business face, it also highlighted emerging opportunities as the advice environment evolved.

“When we talk to advisers, there is an acute difference between those who have successfully transitioned to a business model based on broad financial planning services, and those who primarily base their value on selecting investments for their clients,” Mr Willis said.

“The report clearly shows that where advisers had moved to a fee-for-service model, they saw their clients better understand what value proposition they presented.

“In this context, it’s positive to see increased transparency helping advisers showcase the full breadth and depth of their value to clients.”

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