Financial advisers are facing a raft of changes in 2016 that present both threats and opportunities to their future and their business.

From a regulatory perspective, draft legislation on professional standards was introduced in December last year on the back of the Financial System Inquiry (FSI) – key being the introduction of new educational standards for advisers that will require existing advisers to upskill if they want to remain in business.

Further, the accountant exemption comes to an end on 30 June this year and will see accountants operate under a new licensing arrangement in the provision of advice on the establishment of self-managed super funds (SMSFs).

Advisers and accountants will require solid compliance and implementation support from licensees, professional bodies and institutions if they are to successfully adapt to the ‘new normal’ while still maintaining strong client relationships.

In addition to regulatory change, robo advice and the convergence of accounting and financial planning services are disrupting the financial planning industry and fuelling a need for business growth.

Growth may come through the provision of new advisory services such as aged care, or increased levels of client engagement and satisfaction, however heightened competition from super funds in the post-retirement advice space means advisers will have to work hard to achieve this growth in 2016.

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