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AIOFP targets HNW and rural clients with new programs

The AIOFP has announced new programs with a UK-based private banking and wealth management firm and a rural succession planning group.

At its Canberra Conference on Wednesday, the Association of Independently Owned Financial Professionals (AIOFP) announced a new client program for members with London-based Coutts.

The association has entered into an informal referral relationship with Coutts. While the firm does not have an office in Australia, the program will enable AIOFP members to offer Coutts services to their high-net-worth clients and, where Coutts’ Australian-based clients want assistance, the AIOFP will offer Certified Financial Strategist (CFS) designated advisers to them.

AIOFP executive director Peter Johnston said that its CFS designation has played a “central role in gaining access to market opportunities with corporates, banks, other associations, and super funds”.

“We had to give comfort to these entities that only the best financial advisers will be offered the role and the characteristics of qualifying as a CFS designated adviser has greatly assisted this outcome,” Mr Johnston said.

“CFS is not just about academic qualifications, it is also about the elimination of conflicts, mitigation of risk, experience and practice efficiency – all vital ingredients for a successful advice outcome.

“In addition, with some of these AIOFP clients, we will be constructing a specific Approved Product List (APL) to ensure the risk of product failure is greatly mitigated. At the end of the day, most clients care more about the return of their capital than the return on their capital.”


In addition to the Coutts partnership, the AIOFP also announced a relationship with Next Rural, a succession planning group for the rural community where CFS advisers will “assist the farming community with their financial affairs”.

The AIOFP said it expects to announce at least three super fund advice relationships in the first quarter of 2024.

The partnerships were first announced in October, with Mr Johnston saying that programs with “super funds, corporates, boutique banks, another association, and the rural sector” were to be revealed at the conference.

“In this highly litigious world, we needed to present an environment where the risk of poor advice/product failure was mitigated giving confidence to facilitate our participation with their people. Fundamentally, they needed to be comfortable with the conditions,” he said at the time.

In order to meet this objective, Mr Johnston said there would be stringent requirements that advisers must conform with to participate in the initiative.

“The first is the adviser must meet the requirements of becoming a Certified Financial Strategist, and the second is respecting and only using products on a specifically tailored Approved Product List to the opportunity,” he said.

“The APLs will be constructed by three experienced AIOFP members who operate their own AFSL. If there are specific products you want included, they must be approved by the APL panel.

“The AIOFP role is to oversee the operations and deal directly with these entities who are essentially clients of the AIOFP.”