Grahame Evans speaking at a previous Licensee Summit

Major changes in the licensee and financial advice landscape over the past two to three years has prompted CoreData to re-think how it approaches its Licensee Research project.

The researcher has retained former GPS Wealth head Grahame Evans as a senior consultant to spearhead the initiative for 2023 and is seeking feedback from professional advisers.

Evans tells Professional Planner this year it will include self-licensed financial advice firms and, for the first time, include a section dedicated specifically to licensees themselves to help gauge the health and sustainability of licensee business models. But he says its core focus on advisers, their businesses and their clients will remain unchanged.

Evans says the advice market is settling into three main groupings – Insignia and AMP at the institutional level; an enlarged mid-tier, non-institutional group; and an ever-growing smaller group that has grown for two key reasons.

“One is the closing down at the major institutional businesses,” he says.

“The other is just by nature of the major upheaval we’ve had in the industry, particularly since the [Hayne] royal commission. You could probably go even back further, to FoFA, but more so the royal commission – [there] has been massive change associated with that.”

Evans says the research project has been revised so it takes only about 20 minutes for an adviser to complete. All responses are treated confidentially. Top-level insights from the research will form part of a presentation by Evans at the upcoming Professional Planner Licensee Summit in June and will be reported back to advisers via this publication.

Evans says his first-hand experience at GPS and Diverger of the outputs of the research regularly demonstrated its value to both licensees and advisers. He says the research gives licensees deep insights into “what’s really important for advisers and, therefore, how we develop those services”.

“What’s in it for advisers is that the stuff that’s really important will be the stuff that’s actually developed and enhanced and offered in the marketplace,” he says.

“This is the opportunity for an adviser to give a message to both their licensee and to the industry: what’s important to them? What should licensees be doing to make their life easier and more efficient, more effective, and to also improve the proposition to the client? If they if they can do that, that’s going to be a win-win-win situation.”

Evans says that as a licensee head the research gave him “some really good signals” that he could he use to redirect his team that was working to support the advisers.

“Quite often, there were blind spots that I didn’t know were actually happening, where the research actually brought those out and some of the verbatim [responses from advisers] were also very, very good,” he says.

“I’ve always [operated on] a gut feel, supported by empirical research, and this research gives you a strong view as to whether you’re heading the right direction or heading the wrong direction.”

Evans says he is excited to be able to draw on his years of experience leading licensee businesses to use the research to help advisers and licensee heads.