Renato Mota

Despite the loss of 82 advisers over the last financial year, Insignia expects numbers to stabilise over the coming 12 months and eyes further growth while it continues to simplify its business structure.

Insignia chief executive Renato Mota noted the structural shift in the industry over the last couple of years, expecting FY23 to stabilise then grow after that.

However, he tells Professional Planner the lingering question for the industry is how to best grow adviser numbers.

“The challenge for the industry and policy settings around that is how do we promote financial advice as a terrific career option for Australians. There will be a gap left by the departing advisers that as an industry we will need to fill through new talent.”

In its quarterly business update to the ASX published on Monday night, Insignia stated there were 1,600 advisers in its network as of the end of the financial year.

The lost advisers was partly attributed to the integration of MLC Advice into Bridges which led to the departure of around 30 advisers and Insignia stated this had no impact on client numbers or revenue.

Another 43 advisers that departed were from the self-employed channel and typically from smaller practices which Insignia said reflects the reset if licensee fees charged by Insignia to self-employed advisers from 1 October 2021.

Despite that, Mota has a positive outlook for the business noting platform growth and simplification.

Having bought the MLC business 12 months ago, Mota says the team’s effort in re-engaging relationships has been rewarded.

“It’s the culmination of 12 months of work – a lot of work – but it’s great to see the rewards of that work translate to outcomes.”

Raise the roof

Insignia completed its transition of more than 21,000 members from Integra Super to ANZ Smart Choice Super in June, reducing the number of platforms from seven to six.

Mota says the aim is to get down to one or two platforms.

“We haven’t been prescriptive around the timeframe. We’ve announced the simplification of the Integra system and we expect one other of the acquired platforms to be simplified in 2023. There will be more to follow but we haven’t put a timeframe around those.”

Insignia completed its migration of funds onto the Evolve system last December.

Funds under administration saw positive net inflows of $592 million but was offset by a $14.9 billion market decline and $793 million of pension payments. The combined reduction of $15.1 billion led to a 6.9 per cent decline to $205.2 billion in FUA.

Similarly, a $4.6 billion reduction in funds under management offset $118 million in inflows reducing it to $92.3 billion, a drop of 4.7 per cent.

Cash in hand

Insignia’s 2H22 net profit after tax will reduce $22 million to accommodate an increase in advice remediation.

Approximately $186 million was paid during the 12 months to 30 June 2022 and another $48 million will be paid by this September.

The provision for advice remediation will be reduce to $192 million down from $374.2 million at the end of June 2021. There will be a further reduction by the end of September as those payments are processed leaving an outstanding balance of $144 million.

Assessments under the fee for no service remediation program are expected to be completed by 30 September.

The products and investment remediation program has made $122 million in payments since 30 June 2021 and is expected to be completed by 1H23.

Mota says the organisation is making good progress on remediation.

“It’s great to see us make sure we’re remediating and delivering on those historical issue,” he says.

One comment on “Insignia expects adviser numbers to stabilise”
  1. Avatar
    Jeremy Wright

    Renato is not the only person asking how do we grow Adviser numbers.

    If we put it into the context of and compare it to the medical profession, where all current and future General Practitioners will be forced to submit to additional tertiary education that will include all specialist skill sets and qualifications, or they will be removed from being able to practice, or even begin their careers, then we can see what the problem will be, similar to what has occurred with the Financial Planning sector, which is a mass exodus of existing GP’s and a trickle of new entrants.

    Ask any Australian who would they prefer to do surgery on them, or for their financial wellbeing, an Adviser who is;

    A) Experienced with multi-years practical, hands on knowledge. OR

    B) A enthusiastic beginner who has plenty of theoretical knowledge and is keen to get their hands on you.

    An obvious solution and an answer to what it is that clients actually want, is to allow experienced Advisers to work in their field of expertise, with specific upfront and ongoing education to enable this to occur and for new entrants, start them, as they do in the medical profession, at the ground floor, which for Financial Planning is Wealth Protection, then if they wish to expand into specialist fields such as Superannuation, Retirement Planning, Estate Planning, Investments etc, they can start down those education paths while already providing valuable service to the Practice that employs them.

    What we have today, is a system that forces kids to go through the wringer to gain entry and once through the gate, demand high salaries with no income earning capability for their Employer in the first 12 months, massive expense for their Employer training them up and upon reaching their 1 year anniversary, the Employee demanding a huge pay rise, or they use their paid for “by their Employer” experience to go to a larger firm who will pay them more with little recognition to their boss for having enabled them to get a job in the first place.

    In other words, “There is more disincentive to come into or stay in the Industry, than reasons to jump in, unless you are a large enough firm who has decided to work only with high net worth clients, though what happens to the other 80% of Australians crying out for help and no-one willing to take their hand.

    A specialist medical professional, specializes in just their own field.

    The Financial Planning Industry needs to look to that Business model and allow the client to walk down each path of their choosing, rather than the current model, which is to say we are going to probe every orifice even though we know you have tonsilitis.

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