FOFA drives planners into broking

Mounting regulation and tightening margins have pushed a growing number of financial planners to try their hand at broking.



Mounting regulation and tightening margins has seen a growing number of financial planners try their hand at broking.

Vow Financial CEO Tim Brown says the aggregator has seen an influx of financial planners joining its ranks in recent months.

Changes in regulation and licensing requirements in the financial planning industry - namely the recent FOFA reforms – are a likely factor in the shift, says Brown.

“FOFA is making that business much more complex and I think potentially what planners are looking to do is two-fold – one is to add other incomes to offset some of that extra cost they have now through having to comply with FOFA, and two they’re looking to move into more simple products with less requirements in terms of documentation and regulation,” said Brown. “The licensing requirements for mortgage brokers are nowhere near as great as financial planners.”

Following NCCP an increasing number of mortgage brokers have looked to diversify their businesses into financial planning, and Brown says this trend still remains strong.

“I wouldn’t say it’s to a point where one or the other is going to be dominant, I think they’re both still at a point where they’re growing each aspect of their business while still focusing on their core… but I think financial planners are actively seeking out mortgage broker businesses now or looking to add it to their overall value offering.

"I think we’ll see more and more of this happen over the next three to five years because of compliance. The cost of complying now is becoming far greater and I think people are now starting to realise the cost it takes to comply with the new licensing requirements. We saw this as well with the financial planning world when they first brought in licensing, it made it harder and harder for independent businesses to stay independent they had to merge with people in a similar type of trade and consolidate back offices and get economies of scale." 

Growing interest in SMSF products has also been a likely factor in the diversification, says Brown.

“SMSF predominantly has a debt focus because of borrowings so generally that’s a service they now need to fulfil. The annuity income that mortgages provide also makes up for some of the annuity income that they’re going to lose going forward for superannuation.”

The fact that mortgage broking clients make for good potential financial planning prospects is a further reason why the move makes good sense for planners, he says.

Brown says this is a trend he expects to continue into the near future, creating overall positive outcomes for the broking industry.

“Whereas in the past financial planners literally just referred [mortgage clients] to a bank, now they’re going to write them themselves. So it’s less business the banks are going to get and the more the mortgage broking industry is going to get.

“It’s a really interesting area to watch, especially in the next one to three years we’re going to see a lot of changes which are all for the better. Any improvement in the professionalism in the industry and the consolidation in the industry into larger groups only helps lift the image of the industry – so I’m all for it.”

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