Advisers brace for COVID-19 recession

Over 90 per cent of advisers expect Australia to enter a recession as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, according to new research.

A survey of 177 authorised representatives conducted by Centrepoint Alliance in the first week of April found that 93 per cent expected the nation to experience its first recession in over 20 years, despite efforts being made by the government to cushion the economic blow of the crisis.

The research also found that a significant proportion of advisers were concerned about the ability of their own practice to survive the crisis, with 33 per cent saying they were focused on ensuring their business pulled through over the medium to long term.

Centrepoint chief executive Angus Benbow said as well as helping clients through the economic impacts of coronavirus, advisers were also struggling with financial issues of their own.

“The majority of financial advisers are small business owners, so many are focused on ensuring their businesses remain viable and sustainable beyond the current period of market uncertainty,” Mr Benbow said. 

“At the same time, they are focused on doing crucial work to support clients, many of whom have lost their jobs, or are experiencing financial distress or cash flow issues.”

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Mr Benbow said the crisis had forced advisers to become more innovative and proactive when it came to engaging with clients.

“In this environment the value of quality financial advice has never been greater,” he said. 

“Advisers are working to adapt their businesses and overcome the challenges of mandatory social distancing to help their clients through this period.

“Advisers are being innovative to stay connected to their clients and deliver compliant advice, for example making special arrangements for older clients and using solutions like digital signatures. 

“All are spending extra time being proactive, connecting with anxious clients and helping them take advantage of the stimulus packages.”

Mr Benbow said the dealer group had established a dedicated adviser information portal to support practices through coronavirus, which included educational articles, client facing materials, business continuity plans and remote working tips.

Advisers brace for COVID-19 recession
Centrepoint chief executive Angus Benbow
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