David Smith, founder and director of Smithink and was chair of CA ANZ in the years before its New Zealand merge, said yesterday at the Accounting Business Expo that larger operators are struggling with the liability and regulatory concerns of financial advice in the wake of the royal commission.
This is manifesting in, for example, “mumbo jumbo” statements of advice, which clients are either not reading or not appropriately absorbing.
The disengagement here is an opportunity for accountants, Mr Smith said, given the appetite for financial advice is strong among Australian consumers.
“We know our clients want help. The danger is they will just get that help from their mate down at the pub,” Mr Smith said.
Mr Smith has long been heralding the financial planning opportunity to accountants, and he believes market conditions are now aligned for accountants to capitalise on that.
“It achieves an opportunity for the accountant to provide a broad-based service that’s all under their brand. The planner appears, for all intents and purposes, to be a colleague of the accounting partner. It satisfies all the needs of the accounting firm without requiring them to actually go through and provide the services and have to have all the compliance burden that a financial planning business requires,” Mr Smith previously told Accountants Daily.
“There are only a handful providing these services at the moment, but I think we will find over time that people will try and develop these different ways to help accounting firms provide financial planning services.”
However, accountants are currently hamstrung by a range of regulatory hurdles, which you can read more about here.