AMP is moving away from its limited licensing options for accountants, as a number of advisers licensed by its SMSF Advice business leave the network.
ASIC data reveals that 30 financial advisers operating under AMP’s SMSF Advice licensee switched AFSLs in December and January, fleeing to smaller licensees such as Akambo Private Wealth and the NTAA-aligned SMSF Advisers Network.
InvestorDaily understands that the departure comes as AMP re-examines its approach to limited licensing, switching to re-focus on holistic financial advisers, rather than accountants seeking AFSL solutions following the end to the exemption for SMSF advice on 1 July 2016.
The financial advice giant will instead move to license only fully authorised representatives who can provide personal advice on a range of financial products – a decision the institution will likely announce as part of its reporting of financial results in coming weeks.
A source close to the matter, speaking upon condition of anonymity, said the departure of SMSF Advice authorised representatives followed disputes between AMP and incoming advisers that were hesitant to expand their professional service beyond niche SMSF tax and compliance advice.
“It is not surprising that many of these accountants that joined [AMP’s] limited licence are leaving,” the source said.
“[AMP] was trying to run it like one of [its] other financial planning dealer groups but it became very clear that they didn’t want to do anything differently from what they had always done.”
The source suggested that pressure to recommend in-house financial products and comparatively onerous compliance procedures were among the factors of dispute.
Chris Willaton, director and head of investments at Akambo, said existing relationships with the accounting profession were a boon to the boutique licensee’s recruitment drive.
“We have been working with accounting groups for the past eight years providing advice and investment management solutions, and have over 20 formal relationships with accounting groups nationally,” Mr Willaton told InvestorDaily.
“Given the changes to advice provisions for accountants from 1 July this year, there is growing level of urgency from many accounting groups to have an advice solution that has a strong operational and performance history in this space. We have been approached by numerous accounting groups in recent months who see us as a natural fit.”