From left Simon Hoyle, Anne Fuchs, James Kingston, Marisa Broome and Ben Hillier

Whether it’s overseas or in Australia, the advice profession is cementing itself as focused on lifestyle outcomes rather than investment managers, according to a panel of retirement experts.

Speaking at the Professional Planner Advice Practitioner Summit, Blackrock head of practice solutions James Kingston said the view around world is evolving and moving away from the traditional model of being product-led.

He cited a survey conducted in conjunction with Designing4Better which found the investment part of retirement was a low priority to clients.

“It’s more about personal wellbeing, spending time with your loved ones, having experiences and doing things that they love,” Kingston said.

Australian Retirement Trust head of advice Anne Fuchs said there is a “massive opportunity” for the advice profession to solely focus on the strategic aspect of advice.

“You need to believe in the simplicity because most members love their super fund; they’re not seeking complexity,” Fuchs said.

“We’ve found that a lot of members [have been] referred out and all of a sudden – I’m going to be controversial here – all of a sudden there’s managed accounts and model portfolios and they come back to us saying they just wanted an income account.”

Kingston said advice practices in the US are viewing themselves more as wealth coaches and this trend has reached our shores, to an extent.

“So, when you get to retirement you can actually have a plan on what you want to achieve and then work backwards to what income you need to do that and what that means for your investments,” Kingston said.

Advice practices overseas have also been observed to expand their networks of professionals, according to Kingston. He cited an example of using business consultants to help clients with firms they want to move on from, whether that be via winding down, selling or succession planning.

“As they get older, they [might also be] working with grievance counselors and other sorts of counsellors as well if they need help, so it’s providing lifestyle management. That’s where we’re seeing the evolution.”

Evolution post-covenant

Regarding how far off the Australian market is from this evolution, Kingston said has been precipitated by the covenant.

“From the clients we work with in Europe, they’re quite ahead on this,” Kingston said.