Australia’s 15,709 financial advisers welcomed 144 new recruits to the industry since July, according to latest Wealth Data. But some small firms remain hesitant to bear the cost of hosting a professional year (PY) adviser, who must work 1600 hours and receive at least 100 hours of structured training, before they are accredited.

Australia’s largest financial advice network, AMP, has supported more than 27 candidates each year since 2019 and currently has 55 active professional year advisers, a spokesperson said.

On the flip side, small to medium-sized firm Eureka Whittaker Macnaught, the first firm to employ a professional year adviser in 2019, now uses the supervision period as a recruitment tool, says chief executive Greg Cook.

In Harry Baker EWM had “the first-ever PY person in Australia, in 2019”, Cook says.

While Baker is now working elsewhere, Eureka’s 2020 PY adviser, Tim Manwaring, went on to become a Certified Financial Planner and is still with the firm.

This year’s recruits, Liam Roche and Julian Chan, are working under Brisbane partner Sally Bell and Cook, respectively.

Whilst there is more effort in taking someone through a professional year, the potential for recruitment and staff retention outweighed the costs, Cook says.

“We’ve got a great staff retention ratio and we want to be an employer of choice,’’ he says.

“If you’re a growing business you’re growing the organisation via merger and acquisition, and you are going to need more planners.

“You can either find someone, train them or poach from a competitor.”

Eureka examines its employment-to-cost ratio every quarter and aims to keep total employment costs including wages, bonuses and super below 50 per cent of company revenue.

Cook says planner remuneration, should be no more than 25 per cent of the revenue they look after, meaning an adviser on a $200,000 annual salary would handle $800,000 in revenue from about 80 to 100 clients paying an average of $8000 a year.

Starting remuneration for a Sydney-based professional year adviser was between $80,000 and $90,000 and finishes at $100,000, he says.

These costs are a reason why Adelaide-based firm Johnston Grocke is yet to host a new adviser.