‘Huge potential’ in multi-service firms, experts say

Multi-service firms give practitioners opportunities to capitalise on regulatory changes and expansion in the SMSF sector, according to a panel of industry professionals.

In light of the new licensing regime for accountants providing SMSF advice, it makes a “tonne of sense” to combine accounting and financial advice businesses, said chief executive of Count Financial David Lane at the recent SMSF Strategy Day in Sydney.

“The more diversified the business, the better off it is for selling,” said Mr Lane. “You’ve increased the value of your business, you’ve increased the welfare and happiness of your clients, and it really is a win-win,” he added.

The amount of compliance work for accountants is “drying up,” the Institute of Public Accountants’ Tony Greco added; however, there is “huge potential” in adopting a blended practice model.

“You’ve got accountants who practise in the financial planning space, and now we have financial planners who… have come to the realisation that they provide tax advice as part of providing financial planning, so you do have a merging of those two professions,” Mr Greco said.

“I think firms that adapt will be the winners going forward, and in particular accountants,” he added. “[There’s] untapped potential amongst the majority of firms who haven’t taken that next step.”

Chris Appleyard, chief executive of CleverSuper, added that SMSFs are the “epitome of an enabler” across other advice sectors.

“When you look at practical application of one that may embark on [for example] a property strategy with an SMSF you’ve got financial advice, you’ve got lending, you’ve got cash product, you’ve got insurances, and you’ve got property,” he said.

“That very product has caused this horizontal integration, so there is this consolidation by default.”

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