An increasing number of financial advisers are looking into obtaining their own AFSLs, but there are many challenges that come with becoming self-licensed, says BT Select managing director Kon Costas.
Speaking to ifa, Mr Costas said BT Select – a Westpac-owned firm that offers support services to licensees – has seen a trend of advice businesses considering branching out as a way to gain more control of their practices.
“It’s clear that there are some real reasons that make having your own AFSL appealing, which are centred around greater flexibility and control,” he said.
“When you’re self-licensed you control, manage and adopt the most appropriate resources, tools and services that best fit your business model. Self-licensed business owners prefer the autonomy of being the ultimate decision-maker in relation to their business.”
Despite the many positives, however, it is prudent that advisers think about whether gaining an AFSL is right for them in terms of resources, capabilities, time commitment and ability to manage the ongoing obligations that comes with running a licensee, Mr Costas said.
“The lure of flexibility and control does come with certain responsibilities, so it’s important to make sure you’re ready and know what you’re in for,” he said.
“While getting your AFSL can be time consuming, the real challenges commence when you become operational. The additional responsibilities, time and resources that it takes to manage your AFSL’s ongoing obligations do have a direct impact to your business.
“While many new licensees enjoy a new sense of freedom after becoming self-licensed, it doesn’t take long before they seek to be part of a professional like-minded community for their peer engagement.”
As for the future, Mr Costas predicts the advice industry will continue to grow and develop.
“We’re also seeing a lift in the culture, education standards and continued professional development of our current and future advisers,” he said.
“Having good quality advisers will certainly make a difference to providing peace of mind and financial security for more Australians, and as an industry that’s what’s most important.”
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