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Dr. Mark Sinclair
Dr. Mark Sinclair, Mentor Education

More accountants expected to enter advice space

20 August 2013

In light of the exemption for accountants to provide SMSF advice coming to an end on July 1, an increasing number of accountants are expected to enter  financial planning.

The move by accountants into advice has gained serious momentum as more accountants begin to realise that the effort it takes to get a full licence is not that much more than the effort required for a limited licence.

Accountants can operate under a limited licence allowing them to give SMSF advice and general advice but they still need to refer their clients to financial planners for advice on specific products. Count CEO David Lane has said that, “to get a limited licence an accountant has to spend from 90% to 95% of the cost of the same amount of training that a fully authorised representative would have to get only 10% of what an authorised representative can do.” He has also highlighted that there are more pros than cons regarding obtaining a full licence with 70% of count advisers’ revenue coming from their accounting side and 30% comes from providing advice. “At a first glance, it doesn’t seem like much, but when accountants retire and sell their business, those providing financial advice sell them at three times the price of those who are only accountants,” he has said.

Many accountants have made it clear that they would much rather operate under a full licence with Andrew Jones adviser from Eureka Whittaker MacNaught echoing this sentiment with recent comments made. Jones who went form being an accountant to being a fully-licenced financial adviser commented, “there is a difference between “traditional accountants” who are only interested in taxation and “proactive accountants whose values are largely based in consulting. Those can certainly move into financial planning, so we should see more accountants coming into that space.”

Count CEO David Lane

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