Australia’s largest financial advice network has seen its ranks diminish across all of its major dealer groups, in what AMP says was a “deliberate” decision.
AMP announced its full year results this morning, also using the occasion to announce a reduction in adviser numbers.
A media statement accompanying the results claimed the reduction was the result of corporate strategy and retirement, rather than exodus from its advice channels to others. “AMP deliberately reduced adviser numbers in 2016 by tightening the classification of authorised representatives,” the statement said.
“A higher-than-usual number of advisers also decided to retire or leave the industry in the face of challenging industry conditions and increasing education and professional requirements.”
While the media statement did not provide any specifics on the overall adviser numbers, an investor briefing document provided to the ASX reveals an overall drop of 14 per cent, with 3,519 advisers, down from 4,091 this time last year.
AMP has seen significant reduction in numbers across all of its major dealer groups, with AMP Financial Planning down 7.7 per cent, Hillross down 7.2 per cent, Charter down 19.9 per cent, ipac down 5.6 per cent and SMSF Advice down 37.2 per cent.
The AMP Horizons Academy has also seen a 25 per cent reduction in the size of its student body, while the Jigsaw Support Services business – a consultant to the self-licensed advice sector – has seen its number of contracted IFAs drop by 54.6 per cent.
The announcement of a change in approach to authorised reps from AMP – first reported by ifa - followed off-record comments suggesting the institution sought to turn accountants operating under an SMSF Advice limited licence into fully-fledged authorised reps in order to be more successful product pushers.
The major reduction in adviser numbers in 2016 follows the collapse of the Genesys Wealth Advisers dealer group in 2014. At that time, ifa predicted significant further exodus from the AMP network.
AMP also reported overall net loss of $344 million and underlying profit of $486 million, relating primarily to continued problems in its wealth protection arm.
The institution also pointed to “strong performances” by AMP Capital, AMP Bank, the New Zealand financial services business and the “Australian wealth management” business, which it said was “resilient in a volatile market”.
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