Top 50 Dealer Group Report: Introduction

The after-effects of a turbulent 2011 continue to weigh down investor sentiment and postpone industry growth, but dealer groups of all sizes are pushing ahead, as the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms come into operation in just over six months. ifa reports on the lie of the advice land, following release of the results of ifa’s Top 50 Dealer Group Survey for the 2012 financial year.

The 2012 fiscal year has been one of immense transition and preparation, as the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms climb above the horizon. While FOFA was originally intended to commence on 1 July 2012, Financial Services and Superannuation Minister Bill Shorten confirmed in April that Australian financial advisers and wealth managers would have an extra year to meet the FOFA requirements.

While the soft introduction would give the industry time to prepare for the reforms – and possibly save money – come 1 July 2013, the entire industry must be fully compliant.

As well as regulatory change, fiscal unrest in Europe and the United States was still dampening the movements of some advice businesses, and investors remained loyal, for security, to their large allocations to cash.

While the post-FOFA world has in a sense already taken shape, overall, 2011 was a year of refinement for planning businesses, and the outlook has shifted from a negative one to one that is looking forward to the brighter side of the reforms.

In ifa’s Top 50 Dealer Group Survey 2012, AMP Financial Planning (AMPFP) again secured the top spot. With 1,669 advisers as of 30 June 2012 and with the dealer group set to continue with its growth plans into 2013, reaching the 2,000 mark appears quite likely.

Millennium3 Financial Services and Commonwealth Financial Planning slid into second and third positions, with 842 and 791 advisers in their networks respectively.

RBS Morgans, Commonwealth Financial Planning and Westpac Financial Planning were amongst the strongest performers in terms of overall funds under advice (FUA).

In contrast, Macquarie Private Wealth and AMP Financial Planning both registered a decrease in FUA for the period, despite their high rankings in adviser numbers.

Mergers and acquisitions activity also continued as a result of businesses realigning in order to be sustainable into a still very uncertain future.

BT Financial Group recruited five financial planning practices from Commonwealth Bank of Australia-owned group Count Financial, which joined its Magnitude arm. In addition, Avenue Capital Management shut down its operations following a transaction with the IOOF-owned Lonsdale Financial Group.

To view the wholereport as a PDF file please click here.

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