AMP has embarked on three initiatives which look to address the shortage of advisory talent and, at the same time, expand the organisation’s financial planning “footprint”. Steve Helmich, the director, financial planning, advice and services at AMP, says that it has trialled a “low-touch” service which handles less-complex client needs in about 40 AMP practices.

In the trial, AMP serves as a middle office for the planning practice, providing client inter­face and advice at a rudimentary level for less demanding clients with simple advice require­ments and usually a fairly low level of assets to invest.

“We act as though we are part of the practice,” Helmich says. “We answer the phone, send let­ters and emails.” He says that the service, which will be extended to Hillross practices, is of economic benefit to the planner and licensee.

“They are paying less for the service than it would cost them to do,” he says.

AMP also has two training initiatives in progress. One, Horizons Academy, takes new potential planners through a 13-week educa­tional program and then helps place them into a practice. About 400 people applied for the first program’s 32 places and AMP is in the process of its second intake. Helmich says there will be three or four intakes a year.

The other training initiative, Paraplanning Pathway, piloted a program for individuals to undertake paraplanning work while learning the skills of a planner. Initially, four people took part; a further 30 are currently moving through the program. 

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