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Planners in demand

Madeleine Collins
— 1 minute read
Planners are in demand but there are not enough to go around.
Surprising results from government research found more than 54 per cent of Australians surveyed had used a financial adviser.

It comes as a a chronic skills shortage in the industry continues to bite.

Fifty-four per cent of respondents to a telephone survey of 7500 people aged 12 to 75 said they had used an adviser for financial information or advice.

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Their use increased with age. Sixty-nine per cent of people aged 55 to 64 said they had used an adviser, with 66 per cent for people aged over 65 saying they had done so.

Sixty-eight per cent of people said they had used an accountant or tax agent.

Fifty-seven per cent of respondents had used a bank for financial information or advice.

Eighty two per cent of people said their preferred sources of financial information would come from an adviser, eclipsing all other sources including accountants and banks.

Eighty-three per cent said advice was not only for the wealthy.

The Federal Government's Financial Literary Foundation, chaired by ipac's Paul Clitheroe, commissioned the survey to raise awareness of managing money.

"The more we know about people's attitudes and behaviour, the better we'll be able to stimulate positive change and get people to take those few simple steps to managing their money better," Clitheroe said.

Assistant Treasurer Peter Dutton said the results were very encouraging.

"The vast majority of Australians report that they have the necessary understanding and skills to manage day to day money tasks, such as budgeting, saving and handling debt," Dutton said.

"Where people are less confident is on those tasks they have to do less frequently, such as investing and planning for their retirement."

The results appear to be an improvement on an online survey conducted last year by research house brandmanagement, which found only 28.7 per cent of 4271 respondents used an adviser.

FPA research released in June indicated that 39 per cent of Australians were confused about the changes to superannuation.

The shortage of planners continues to affect the industry as demand surges.

Investment and Financial Services Association chief executive Richard Gilbert told a superannuation conference in March that a supply crisis was a major problem in delivering advice.

"My contacts with the major dealer groups repeatedly reveal that they need more planners than are available," Gilbert said. 

"Our inquiries reveal that for some of the bigger firms, although a client may be able to get an appointment to see a planner in around a week, it will take up to 2 months for them to actually receive a plan."

There are around 16,000 full time planners in Australia.

The Federal Government's database of financial literacy resources and programs was launched yesterday. It lists government, education, industry, banking, finance and community services.

 

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