Advisers have leaned on the support of their practice colleagues more than any other part of their professional support network during the coronavirus crisis, while industry associations and software providers could do more according to data from Investment Trends.

The research, conducted in collaboration with Professional Planner, shows the level of support advisers receive from their colleagues has remained strong since the week ending March 6, when 84 per cent of the 500-odd advisers taking part in the survey described it as either ‘good’ or ‘adequate’.

That level has incrementally risen in the weekly study; by the week ending May 4, 93 per cent of advisers described it as good or adequate, with only 4 per cent calling it ‘inadequate’ and 3 per cent saying they received ‘no support’ from their workmates.

“The people who work together in the advice industry have been very supportive of each other,” says Investment Trends CEO Michael Blomfield.

Blomfield notes that advisers have also been appreciative of the level of support they’ve received from their external industry peers and associates. “Again, it’s pretty good, 79 or 80 per cent give a positive rating,” he adds.

The Investment Trends boss reports that licensees have been perceived as supportive by advisers, with a steady 80 per cent giving them a positive rating since the survey began. MLC and Centrepoint Alliance have been among the licensees to announce measures aimed at reducing the financial load for advisers since the pandemic started by reducing or placing an amnesty on fees.

“As licensees have been finding ways to help it’s been recognised by the industry,” Blomfield comments.

In what may come as a surprise, advisers have also indicated that investment product providers have shown support during the pandemic period, with only 14 per cent of respondents not giving them a positive rating.

Not everyone in the advice landscape has been supportive since the crisis began, advisers say. Perhaps the worst to fare are the industry associations, with the amount of advisers describing their support level has been either ‘inadequate’ or ‘no support’ fluctuating between 70 per cent and 37 per cent during the period.

“The extent to which people believe the association’s support has been adequate has been falling over time,” Blomfield says. “That’s something where certainly if I was an industry association, for example, I’d be thinking hard about.”

Only between 63 per cent and 68 per cent of advisers give software providers like Iress, Salesforce and Midwinter a positive rating in terms of support during the pandemic, but Blomfield says this is not uncommon.

If you’re a software provider there’s a narrower – but higher impact – band of support required,” he says. “Software providers have always been marked harder than any other segment, and holding ratings at this level in this environment is no small achievement.”

Tahn Sharpe is a Sydney-based financial services journalist with a background in financial planning. He writes on advice, superannuation, investment, banking and insurance issues, is a certified SMSF Adviser and holds an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning. Contact at [email protected]
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