Andrew Inwood. Photo: Jack Smith

Advisers’ satisfaction with licensees has drastically increased across the board, the latest annual research presented by CoreData to the Professional Planner Licensee Summit found. 

Licensee satisfaction increased year on year, with 74 per cent of advisers in the 2024 survey saying they are satisfied with their licensee versus 66 per cent in last year’s survey. 

Conversely only 4 per cent are unsatisfied versus 18 per cent a year ago.  

“Satisfaction of licensees has increased across the board, everyone’s doing better, everyone’s happier with the world,” CoreData Research global CEO Andrew Inwood said. 

“Everyone is starting to work out this is the golden age for advice, so the whole tide is starting to lift which is a great sign because that wasn’t always true.” 

But while satisfaction with licensees has gone up, so has fees. 

“That seems to be okay at the moment because the amount they’re charging is going up at the moment as well,” Inwood said.

“We tested those numbers with a couple of consultants who are going out and doing the re-pricing. The reality is they say yeah, we’re re-pricing because the market has capacity to pay for it.  

“We’ve collected the letters that the licensees are sending out about why they’re putting their prices up.” 

However, Inwood noted that saying a client is going to be charged twice as much as the result of a consultancy review matters very little to the end consumer. 

“You can talk about the market, you can talk about the cost, but the fact you’ve had a review from someone isn’t particularly helpful,” Inwood said. 

Tech in play

When it comes to growth plans, Inwood said it was predominantly smaller AFSLs that had the plans for growth.  

“They’re driving real growth inside the industry,” Inwood said.  

“They have plans, they can talk about it and when you drill down to the plan…they can show you the plan.” 

Inwood said these smaller AFSLs have a much greater focus on delivering better technology outcomes.  

“They are absolutely driving into the tech stack,” he said.  

“If I was an incumbent tech stack holder in this industry, I’d start to be worried. There’s two or three that actually have big relationships with the market. Everyone knows that Xplan has 64 per cent of the current market and it’s quite sticky.” 

In fact, Inwood noted that the biggest competitor to Iress’ Xplan is an Excel spreadsheet. 

“[Xplan’s] biggest competitor is people doing it themselves. People are going to find the ways, the systems and processes to get around this,” he said. 

Along with tech stacks, cybersecurity has overtaken approved product lists as a key priority for AFSLs. 

“Cybersecurity, adviser tech are now more important than getting the APL right,” Inwood said. 

“All of a sudden, the conversation has changed. Adviser tech is an absolute priority in the conversation.” 

Inwood said the research findings noted a strong correlation between the use of customised technology stack and growth focus.  

“It’s mostly perfectly aligned,” he said.  

“The interesting bit about this is the people who are doing it… they’re building the stacks themselves. They’re getting consultants in and they’re working [on] it and talking about it, but they’re commonly building these tech stacks themselves because there isn’t someone who can solve all the problems for them.” 

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