Why obtaining quality financial advice will become even more difficult
Investopoly
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Investopoly
Why obtaining quality financial advice will become even more difficult
Aug 17, 2022 Episode 222
Stuart Wemyss

 Most people would say that finding a good financial advisor has always been a difficult task. Ten years ago, most financial planners received commissions for remuneration, so clients had to navigate endless conflicts of interest. Thankfully, investment commissions no longer exist. The challenge is now finding an advisor with well-rounded experience. 

Commissions are banned – it's more about experience and scope

Financial advisors use to receive commissions from managed fund providers which created a conflict of interest, as data showed that they’d only recommend the funds that paid commissions, and the higher fees (resulting from the cost of paying this commissions) greatly diminished net investment returns. In essence, commissions incentivised planners to recommend poor quality investments (managed funds). 

Commissions on new investments were banned in 2014 and on existing (grandfathered) investments in 2018. Financial advisors now cannot accept conflicted remuneration arrangements by law e.g., commissions. 

Obviously, this was a massive step forward because the existence of commissions was almost wholly responsible for all the poor advice outcomes that people experienced. In a commission-based (or any conflict of interest) world, most advisors core competency was salesmanship, not delivering quality financial advice. But most unsuspecting customers didn’t realise this – often planners were wolves in sheep’s clothing. 

This has changed now. Financial advisors no longer need to sell, just advise. Therefore, in my view, when choosing an advisor, you must consider (1) whether they have enough experience and (2) whether the scope of their advice maximises your opportunity i.e., knowledge. 

With respect to scope, I’m a staunch believer that holistic advice maximises value, as discussed here (where I shared 6 case client studies). High quality advice is multifaceted because it includes many considerations including tax, super, estate planning, insurance/risk and so on. 

The mass exodus of advisors will take years to repair 

There have been several changes in the financial planning industry which have resulted in a mass exodus of advisors. In 2018 there were about 28,000 financial advisors in Australia. Around 40% of these advisors have already left the industry and it is predicted that advisor numbers will fall to circa 13,000 by the end of next year. 

Of course, there were many shoddy financial advi

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