Centrepoint Alliance is the latest licensee to provide amnesty to its authorised representative adviser firms on top of temporary executive team salary cuts to reflect the challenges stemming from the spread of COVID-19.

Angus Benbow, chief executive of Centrepoint Alliance, emphasised the ASX-listed company is in a strong financial position but noted that the measures reflect the difficult period advisers face and overall market uncertainty.

Benbow announced this week Centrepoint would waive a planned fee increase, reduce licensee fees for larger firms and cap fees for a period of two-years in an effort to provide some relief for advisers.

The Centrepoint announcement comes on the heels of an announcement by MLC CEO Geoff Lloyd at Professional Planner’s Retirement Conference at the end of March in which Lloyd said MLC will waive 100 per cent of all licensee fees for three months starting on April 1, followed by three months of a 50 per cent discount on licensee fees for advisers within the group.

During the announcement Lloyd threw out a challenge for other licensees to offer amnesty to advice practice owners who may be struggling to meet demands put on them following the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and in light of continuing regulation changes impacting their businesses, although many licensees may themselves be challenged  by some of the same headwinds.

Benbow also announced the company’s board and executive team have volunteered a temporary 20 per cent reduction in pay and non-executive staff have been invited to salary sacrifice six weeks leave over six months. He added that the salary sacrificed leave program helps to reduce Centrepoint’s salary costs and provides staff additional flexibility to assist while working remotely and caring for family.

At Professional Planner’s Licensee Summit in June last year, Benbow outlined Centrepoint’s plans to move from a previously predominantly product-subsidised business, to one where practices licensed by Centrepoint pay the full cost for the services they access.

Benbow said Centrepoint made the decision to “rapidly mobilise” additional support to help advisers and their clients manage their businesses during this difficult period.

Smith is head of content and managing editor of Professional Planner and Investment Magazine.
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