Hugh Humphrey, managing director of Hillross, acknowledges that the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms have “many moving parts” but, aside from a few clarifications, the regulator has declared the AMP dealer group ready for the July 1 start.
“There is still a bit more information to come particularly around final clarity on conflicted remuneration, implications of grandfathering and details on annual fee disclosure statements,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of information, we understand where things are, we’ve been communicating all the way through and now, at the beginning of this year, we’ve swung into training and development with our advisers.”
Humphrey says specific state-based FoFA courses are assessing Hillross advisers, determining any holes in their knowledge and delivering training to close these gaps.
“Clearly FoFA is a big deal with a lot of moving parts to it but we’ve put a whole lot of resources against it and some big budgets to make sure that it’s all happening and trucking along in line with our expectations,” he said.
“Our objective is that everything will be 100 per cent by July 1.”
Hillross shifted its branding strategy in the latter half of 2012 with the “What’s your idea of financial freedom?” tagline now prominent in the group’s marketing as a response to the view that a lot of financial planning is driven by compliance concerns, rather than by a focus on client goals and objectives.
“We’ve rebuilt our brand and business around this and, as a consequence, any recruitment that we do is all about how we grow the number of Australians we are helping achieve their idea of financial freedom,” he said.
“And we are finding like-minded practices that are equally passionate about the customer.”
Humphrey says Hillross added 90 new advisers in 2011 and 70 in 2012 with growth continuing this year.
“Like-minded advisers often means these are self-licensed businesses… who have maybe been running their own license and looking for a business partner,” he said.
“We’re also finding that Horizons is a fantastic resource and another source of our growth.”