Not surprisingly, this report on the continuing decline in adviser numbers generated the most interest from advisers this week. Perhaps there’s some light at the end of the tunnel, courtesy of the Government’s Experience Pathway proposition for 10-year advisers of good standing – but the comments made so far at the end of this article don’t exactly project a rosy future – especially for specialist risk advisers
Research firm Wealth Data is expecting that the number of advisers will reduce to approximately 17,200 during January and thereafter to between 15,000 and 16,000 as the 2022 year rolls out.
Writing in his first weekly report for the year, Wealth Data’s Colin Williams says the number of advisers decreased by 603 from 18,273 to 17,670 between December 23, 2021 and January 13, 2022.
But he adds the firm is expecting additional losses for 2021 as the reporting rolls in post the holiday period.
The report also points to the net change for the month of December 2021 – a decrease of 806 while the net change for the 2021 year is a decrease of 2,930 advisers.
Williams notes that as the data slowly comes in “…the numbers clearly show that 2021 has been a very difficult one for advice firms with very few bright spots.”
The report also highlights different sectors of the market and Williams says that overall the losses are 14.43 percent for the year.
He says the Financial Planning sector, the largest, suffered a loss of 1,652 advisers or 12.91 percent and that this sector is in some ways a story of ‘large versus small’.
“The only real growth is the number of new licensees with 131 licensees opening and 47 closing – virtually all new licensees being small licensees (less than 20 advisers). While some of the large licensee owners who operate in this sector suffered heavy losses,” he says.
Williams points to Insignia Group (IOOF) down 31.35 percent and AMP Group down 26.21 percent.
“Their losses are much greater than the total loss of 12.91 percent for the sector and their combined loss of 964 advisers, represents more than half the losses across the sector,” he says.
…the hardest hit sector in percentage terms was the Accounting – Limited Advice…
Williams says the hardest hit sector in percentage terms was the Accounting – Limited Advice (mostly advice limited to SMSF). It was down by 36.31 percent and he expects this to deteriorate further as more reporting comes in over the next couple of weeks.
This sector also saw 121 licensees close and none commenced.
Williams says that holding up the best with losses of 5.95 percent is the Accounting – Financial Planning (holistic advice, mostly owned by accounting groups).
“It is a relatively small sector of the market with less than 1,000 advisers. This sector also had growth in the number of licensees with 15 commencing and nine closing.”
The report says the Investment Advice sector (mostly focused on portfolio advice often using direct investments) held up very well through to December, but got hit hard in the last few weeks due to FASEA.
Overall it is down 297 advisers or 8.69 percent. “However, since December 1, it lost 194 or two thirds of their losses in one month.”