Greg Yanco (left) and Michelle Levy

ASIC warned finfluencers they would need a licence even if they’re not getting paid, potentially creating the beginning of the end for independent social media users producing financially relevant content.

“If you don’t understand [corporations law] you need to get legal advice; these are laws, they’re not simple,” ASIC executive director for markets Greg Yanco said.

“If you’re providing product advice or arranging for people that deal with a financial product then you’re likely to be carrying on some sort of financial service and you’re going to need a licence.”

Professional Planner hosted the first of two Researcher Forum events for 2022, the March iteration being a holdover from 2021 due to the lockdowns in NSW and around the country.

At the event, AMP Advice managing director Matt Lawler said the company owns verticals but is not vertically integrated – noting there is an important distinction.

“There’s nothing wrong with owning verticals, but when it is integrated to a point where it affects the very person you’re trying serve then that’s bad vertical integration and unwinding that has been important,” Lawler said.

On the topic of vertical integration, Lonsec expressed concern over advice firms to posing as product manufacturers via managed accounts.

“I have concerns with some of the first movers in the space that really saw themselves as being able to set up a funds management business and potentially substantial revenues associated with that,” Lonsec CEO Michael Wright said.

‘Simply not enough’

Then financial services minister June Hume acknowledged the thin pipeline of new talent coming through the industry.

Hume said it was expected there would be significant numbers leaving the industry, but her comments suggested there was not sufficient planning into sustaining the industry.

“In 2021, only 300 people graduated with a FASEA-approved degree from an Australian university and only half started their careers as financial advisers,” Hume said. “That is simply not enough.”

Allens partner Michelle Levy was appointed by Hume to lead the Quality of Advice Review with the terms of reference released alongside the announcement of her appointment.

Levy would be tasked with improving affordability and accessibility of the industry which had seen the cost of advice rise heavily due to regulation and the number of licensed advisers decrease.