Cameron Garrett

Macquarie is expanding its Virtual Adviser Network to include practices with revenues between $1 million and $5 million to contribute to the next stage of growth for smaller advice firms.

The VAN program has been around more than a decade and traditionally focused on firms with over $5 million in revenue, but now includes a dedicated ‘Build for the Future’ program for smaller practices.

The aim of the program is to connect firms on a strong growth trajectory and are looking for a collaborative network to help drive the evolution and sustainability of their practices.

Macquarie head of wealth solutions Cameron Garrett tells Professional Planner the crucial part of the program is the value of community.

“One of the key themes we continue to hear from the first cohort of principals is the value of that community. It’s really challenging running an advice business and we know it can be quite isolating.”

Garrett says the network brings advisers together to share insights and learn from each other to help develop business growth plans.

“We see a broad demographic of principals looking to engage to be part of the program; both those that are young and early in their career and looking for growth fast, but also some that are more established that might be looking to undertake their next step of growth.”

The four pillars the course focuses on are: making better decisions and executing successfully, having a strong differentiated proposition, understanding the benefits of scale and planning for sustainable growth, and encouraging a culture of ownership.

Supporting growth

With adviser numbers deteriorating Macquarie felt expanding the program would benefit the development of the industry.

“As a committed partner to the financial advice industry, we think it is incumbent on organisations like Macquarie to support aspirational and high performing firms on their growth journey, and to work with them to deliver insights and embed practices that will position them for success,” Garratt says.

Supporting the firms of the future is vital to ensure the sustainability of high-quality financial advice in Australia, Garratt says.

“Ultimately, it is these firms that are playing a key role in ensuring a sustainable financial advice industry to serve the needs of Australians, both now and into the future.”

Over the last 18 months, the first cohort of 21 principals from advice firms from across Australia have been involved with the Build for the Future program.