Speaking to sister publication Accountants Daily, CPA Australia’s chief executive Alex Malley said the early stages of take-up are in line with expectations.
Mr Malley said he had accepted, from the outset, that growing the advice arm would be a “long game”. He likened it to a start-up business, with a time frame of three to five years before serious traction is made.
“If we had expected 900 advisers and we got 20, then maybe we have reasons to be concerned,” Mr Malley said.
“But we never had that size in mind. We knew there would be a lot of interest that wouldn’t convert immediately. But the more we are in the market … the more people realise there are some safety mechanisms in working with their own membership body, the more people will sign up.
“It’s reported as if it’s an abject failure, [but] it’s a long play.”
Mr Malley said there is interest from members of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) for CPA Australia’s Advice offering, and he believes the “interest factor” broadly has changed dramatically compared to this time 12 months ago.
While targets are conservative at this point, investment in the advice arm will continue, with an eye on graduates and new starters to the RG 146 process, Mr Malley said.
“There are people that are looking for a minimal, a middle and an extensive solution, so we’re looking at those [people]. We are looking at people who might be with other groups right now,” he said.
“There’s a lot of people engaged at the commission level, and so they’ve got a commission book and understandably they don’t want to give that up. To come to CPA Australia Advice, you have to … give up the commission book.
“That’s a significant step to take if you’ve got [an] established business, we recognise that.”