Financial services businesses have operated under a stable and prosperous backdrop for decades – Australia has enjoyed three decades of economic growth since “the recession we had to have” in 1991.

From 1992 to 2021, Australia’s prosperity was driven by strong population growth, robust exports and a rapidly expanding mining sector.

In more recent years, growth has also been buoyed by unprecedented volumes of fiscal and monetary stimulus.

For 30 years, Australian shares have delivered 9.7 per cent p.a. and listed property has returned 8.6 per cent p.a., underpinning superannuation balances and household wealth.

But the operating environment is changing.

As the world emerges from the grip of Covid-19, there are new challenges to navigate including rising interest rates and inflation, and global political and economic uncertainty.

With significant, unknown headwinds on the horizon, it is critically important for professional advisory firms to ensure the right foundation for future growth.

Many will need an experienced, well-resourced partner to provide hands-on practice management support, particularly in areas like service delivery, process optimisation and technology implementation.

Positively, the pace of regulatory and structural change is easing and advisers are experiencing clean air for the first time in a long time.

After decades of confusion and disruption, there is headspace to think about strategy, invest in people and build for the future.

Advisers need to suck in that clean air fast to get bigger and better before operating conditions worsen.

All things being equal, larger businesses are better resourced and managed. They can offer broader services and consumer choice. Scale also brings purchasing power and better access to capital.

For relatively small, immature businesses, the mission must be to transition to a larger, more mature state.

As is often the case, this first step is to assess and understand your position, and set targets and goals.