Bank ownership of planners over-reported

Widespread media reports suggesting vertical integration has seen AMP and the big four banks take ‘ownership' of financial planning are incorrect with Money Management's 2014 Top 100 Dealer Groups research revealing they hold just under 60 per cent of financial planning groups, with total institutional ownership of financial planners actually totalling just over 70 per cent.

The statistics, drawn from the survey, contradict the oft-cited figure of 80 per cent of planners working for AMP and the ‘big four' banks alone and point to a larger non-aligned financial advice sector than previously reported.

According to the research conducted by Money Management AMP, ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac have 9022 planners between them or 59.9 per cent of those planners covered by the Top 100 data.

AMP owned planning groups account for 21 per cent of financial planners in the Top 100 while planning groups owned by the four banks held 38 per cent of planners in the survey.

The addition of 1829 planners operating under licences held by IOOF, Suncorp and other institutions results moves the total figure of institutionally ownership to 72 per cent of planners, or about 10,800 planners covered by the survey data distributed across 40 different planning groups.

Institutionally-aligned planning groups also had muted growth this year with AMP-owned Charter Financial Planning — the leading group for growth in the survey — only adding 64 planners followed closely by BT-owned Magnitude adding 63.

Institutionally aligned planning groups also led the list of planning groups who lost adviser numbers with NAB Financial Planning (NABFP) shedding more than 150, Commonwealth Financial Planning (CommFP) shedding 135 and Bridges Financial Services losing 112. Despite this both still have planners numbering into the hundreds, as does RI Advice and the ANZ-owned Millenium 3 which also saw planner's depart.

Non-aligned planning groups who posted sizable gains include The FinancialLink Group which added 58 planners for a total of 150, however these were transitioned over from Titanium Planners after both groups had become part of the Beacon Group established in May last year.

Dover Financial Advisers added 56 planners and continued its growth push from last year, in which it added 91 planners, for a total of 283, effectively doubling its numbers in the last two years. Synchron also continued its growth trajectory from last year adding 43 planners this year compared with 50 from last year, increasing its numbers by a third in the past two years.

Overall financial planning numbers within the Top 100 fell slightly from last year to 15069, continuing a four year pattern of decline in which the Top 100 shed 1000 planners since 2011 when it reported its highest planners at 17369.

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