Now’s the time for action; 2021, the perfect opportunity for self-licensee AFSLs

The changing advice landscape

In 2020, COVID-19 reshaped everything for financial advisers; from the way we do business to the financial landscape. The crisis has helped demonstrate the value advisers can add in helping clients to navigate turbulent markets, providing reassurance, compassion and understanding. One of Investopedia’s Top 100 Advisers, Brittney Castro, CEO and Founder of Financially Wise shares her predictions for 2021. “With more and more people left with so much uncertainty with the markets, I think more people will devote time and energy toward their finances by taking personal finance courses, reading books, or hiring a financial planner to help them make smart money decisions in this new world that is emerging.”[1]

In Australia, demand for financial advice has doubled in the last five years.

According to Investment Trends 2020 Financial Advice Report, an in-depth survey of the appetite and use of financial advice among Australians, 2.6 million non-advised Australians intend to seek help from a financial planner in the next two years. This figure is double the demand from 2015 (1.3 million), and significantly higher than the 2.1 million in 2019[2]. King Loong Choi, Senior Analyst at Investment Trends commented, “A record number of non-advised Australians realise they need professional financial advice. The pandemic has been a major catalyst, with 44% saying the COVID-19 situation had increased their likelihood of seeking advice.”

Currently, around 20 per cent of Australians are advised in some fashion. By tapping into the 40 per cent of the population who plan to seek advice[3], the breadth of opportunity to service clients widens by a significant margin[4].

The number of advisers is shrinking

The opportunities are highlighted even more in light of the current reduction in the number and size of institutional players and the number of experienced advisers exiting the market, as educational pre-requisites are ramped up, resulting in an ever-shrinking pool of advisers. According to Rainmaker Information’s Financial Adviser Report, adviser numbers shrunk 16% in the 12 months to June 2020, preceded by a 14% drop in the 12 months to June 2019.[5]

The self-licencing future

Despite this decrease in adviser numbers, Investment Trends research director, Recep Peker, says the trend towards self-licensing is accelerating. According to Peker, 20% of financial advisers have indicated they are already self-licensed or are under a boutique AFSL, with another 8% saying they would like to obtain their own AFSL in the near future.

Whilst being a good adviser doesn’t necessarily equip you to run an efficient practice nor does it necessarily prepare you to manage an AFSL, if you are an ethical, disciplined and ‘independently-minded’ advice professional, becoming a self-licensee may be the best option for you[6].

With the demand for self-licensing increasing, we’ve found the preferences these newer self-licensees are seeking is also changing. Newer self-licensees favour a user pays system, featuring increased use of managed accounts and integrated technology solutions. And why not, they are after all building their future and accounting for client growth expectations.

What are you waiting for?

While 2021 will likely bring its own set of challenges, the year ahead is a unique opportunity for those remaining in the industry to set themselves up for future success. The good news is there are some great professionals available to assist you. So what are you waiting for?

Please contact Jill Tunkin for a confidential chat about our suite of flexible, adaptable and cost effective self-licensee support solutions on 0419 254 551 or email

Lifespan Partnership is aligned with Lifespan Financial Planning, one of Australia’s largest family run and privately-owned adviser networks, with no ownership links to any bank, fund manager or insurance provider. For over 25 years, Lifespan has partnered with advisers to build successful businesses through the provision of quality advice services. Lifespan knows that advisers need security, especially in these challenging times with support through understanding and solutions to achieve sustainable growth.







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