While the outlook for independent financial advice is good and likely to be boosted by pending industry reforms, one practitioner believes it is under threat due to a shortage of quality IFAs.

Matthew Ross, an independent financial adviser with Roskow Independent Advisory, says the biggest short-term obstacle to his business is finding the right people who share his vision, passion and values.

The company presently has two offices, one in Melbourne and another in Brisbane licensed through Australian Independent Financial Advisers Pty Ltd, but has ambitious plans to run offices in every state and territory of Australia within five years.

“The outlook for truly independent advice is bright, extremely bright,” he told Professional Planner Online.

“However, while the demand for independent advice is very high, the supply of independent financial advisers is extremely low.”

Sing it from the rooftops 

Ross (right) is not yet able to divulge the full detail of the boutique’s plans but it involves nationwide expansion, its own Australian Financial Services license (AFSL) and a deal to bring in-house financial planning to existing accountancy practices.

“Once we can find the right people to join the team in Melbourne and Brisbane or open our offices in the other capital cities of Australia we’ll be able to jump up on the rooftops and let Australia know we are here,” he says.

“Due to the amount of work we have on the go at the moment we unfortunately aren’t in a position to do this.”

Following high-profile media exposure in February, Ross says the business started receiving a steady supply of inquiries and now, nine months later, is still fielding phone calls from potential clients.

“The Melbourne office has two new appointments booked in the diary per week until February next year and the Brisbane office is booked out until January and we’re not actively asking for referrals from existing clients or trusted professionals,” he says.

“Whilst this is a good position to be in it means that we’ve had to refer some prospective clients to another firm and not able to implement other growth strategies – such as asking for referrals – which is not ideal.”

Opportunity knocks

With Ross the lone planner in the Melbourne office, he is looking for an experienced adviser to join the team but admits the biggest obstacle is finding the right person.