During the next five years, the quality and capability of financial planning licensees will be tested, possibly like never before.

Demands on individual advisers to meet new education, ethical and professional standards will sort out the licensees that have genuine interest in supporting advisers from those which are in the business just to make a buck from offering the lowest possible support for the lowest possible cost.

Some advisers will need considerable support and guidance from licensees as they negotiate the transition to new minimum education standards, a new code of ethics, an industry-wide exam, and new continuing professional development (CPD) requirements. Not all licensees will be equally capable of providing it and the so-called licensees of last resort will be exposed.

Paying peanuts to a licensee puts advisers at risk of being supported by monkeys. What looks like a great fee deal now might look like a completely false economy in a few years’ time when a licensee is unable to support advisers through the process of meeting new standards and at the same time keeping the lights turned on in the advisers’ businesses.

It is not an overstatement to suggest choice of licensee today might be the difference between an adviser being in business or not, come 2024.

Better licensees are already on advisers’ backs and pushing hard for them to upgrade qualifications, if needed. The most progressive licensees are looking even beyond the bare-minimum requirements of the new law, to consider how a FASEA-developed code of ethics and CPD requirements might shape the process and the business of giving advice in five years’ time.