For all of 2022 and the start of 2023, the industry was focused on the Quality of Advice Review.

Considerable time and energy has gone into reading consultation papers, attending briefings and preparing submissions.

This is not a complaint. The advice review is an important, much-needed look at the effectiveness of the regulatory framework. It promises to significantly reduce complexity in the system, ease the compliance burden on advice businesses and improve advice accessibility and affordability.

It signals the dawn of a new economic era for financial advice, but there’s no doubt it could be an excuse not to progress areas within our control.

While Michelle Levy’s recommendations are far from a fait accompli and the industry must lobby to ensure sensible reforms are adopted, advice businesses must focus on serving their clients and capturing opportunities to build their businesses.

Those that wait for greater regulatory certainty before making positive changes to their business risk falling behind or missing the boat completely.

Amidst the noise, good businesses are always looking for ways to improve the quality of their value proposition and enhance their service delivery. Under all conditions, they get on with executing their strategy.

They may get involved in advocacy via their industry body or licensee or by directly engaging their local Member of Parliament but their top priority is what’s happening inside the four walls of their business.

They actively seek feedback from staff, clients and business partners, and use that feedback as an invaluable input to their strategy and strategic priorities.

Ultimately, businesses grow off the back of client ideas. Consumers determine the relevance of current solutions and what is a fair price for those solutions. The most successful businesses are able to adjust and expand their offer to meet the evolving needs and expectations of clients.

Given the scarce resources inside most businesses and their limited capacity to recruit additional staff, advisory firms need to leverage internal resources and seek support from external service providers and business partners.

Often an impartial third party is able to identify opportunities, threats and solutions that management and staff miss because they are too close to the business or they don’t have the right skill set and exposure to the broader industry.

The same principles apply to licensees and adviser services companies.

They also need to evolve their offer to keep pace with the changing needs of advice businesses.