Advisers are hurting out there. Licensees are making big decisions about the future of their businesses, leaving many advice practices to work out what is next for them.
Other practices are dealing with rising compliance activity, business succession, and confronting FASEA education pathways – all reasons to reassess their operating model.
Some advisers are even reassessing their future as an advice professional. Do they want to be part of the future advice industry and does it want them?
The Royal Commission shone the spotlight on what was bad in the industry, and some more experienced advisers feel they have been tarnished with this brush.
While heightened professional standards and regulatory change is necessary to restore trust, the departure of the expertise held by the more experienced advisers is leaving a huge hole in many businesses.
The fact is, the professional and business skills of these experienced advisers cannot easily be replaced in a small business with limited staff.
As a result, principals are facing premature business transformation and accelerated business succession to junior partners or salaried advisers who may not yet be ready or equipped for this level of change at this point in time. While they may have brought in extra support staff and advisers to assist with business growth and added compliance obligations, it is the wisdom and experience that comes with 30 years in front of clients and owning a business that cannot be replaced quickly.
The key question is this – who do you need around you to help make this change a successful one? Who are the network of peers and mentors that guide and support you?
This environment we are in underlines the importance of community. Partnering for change is crucial and despite all the hype and noise around what is being offered by licensees in the market, the culture of the community that an advice practice wraps around itself and the quality of the person leading that community, is a real differentiator.
If your business is one of those facing the departure of significant expertise, it is a good time to think about what community your business needs to help you to steady the ship and start moving forward again.
A practice that recently joined a new licensee community is going through this exact transformation. Its challenge was the unplanned departure of a senior adviser who had decided to retire rather than meet the new education requirements.
The challenge for this business is that it has built its niche around providing aged care expertise to clients. The departure of this adviser from providing advice meant the practice had a brand promise that its younger advisers, whilst experienced and capable, were not yet well equipped to deliver.
This business decided to leave its existing licensee and to partner with a new licensee where they could join a community of advisers who had this expertise and who could provide the support to help them through the change.
Accessing a community of like-minded peers that shares expertise to help each other grow, makes all the difference in these transitions. A well organised community which knows where the relevant expertise sits and can help guide you through the journey is invaluable.
The right community for your practice feels easy. You feel heard. You are treated like an adult. You belong and you not only benefit from the expertise in the community, you contribute to it.
Nathan Jacobsen is managing director of Paragem Pty Ltd.