Notwithstanding the current credit-squeezed environment, the superannuation juggernaut will continue to roll and there will be continuous growth in the demand of individuals for financial advice and of financial services providers for sales personnel.
In an economy constrained by shortages of skilled personnel it will be increasingly difficult to supply sufficient numbers of qualified, let alone experienced, financial planners. This is another excellent reason for the decoupling of advice from sales.
Financial planning organisations have for many years been seeking to respond to recruitment pressures by reorganising their practices to maximise specialisation. The enormous growth in paraplanners and increasing use of automated processes are expressions of that response.
I think that a large part of the response by industry super funds will be to focus on information that can be provided directly without formal personalised advice.
Obviously there will continue to be debate about and refinement of the regulatory environment governing financial advice, but much of the complexity is driven by concerns over the degree to which advice may be tainted by sales imperatives.
A decoupling of advice from sales would ease constraints on the supply of qualified and experienced advisers by fostering greater specialisation.
Garry Weaven is Chair of Industry Funds Management, an investment service provider to the superannuation industry, a director of Members Equity Bank, which is owned by 40 superannuation funds, and a director of Pacific Hydro.