FoFA-forced industry contraction and consolidation is prompting practices and dealer groups to embrace new ways of connecting and understanding each others’ businesses before embarking on partnerships, according to Vanessa Stoykov, creator of the educational franchise, No More Practice.
“In putting together the No More Practice series, we have gained unique insight into the challenges facing Australia’s advice industry,” said Stoykov.
“We realised there needed to be a more sustainable and collaborative way for these groups to partner up, and the long-term health of the advice industry and quality advice outcomes for Australian consumers depended on it.”
The result is an interactive, online directory and meeting place called The No More Practice Marketplace which will launch on 1 September 2012. The Marketplace concept was conceived following discussions with institutionally aligned dealer groups about effective and cost-efficient ways of recruiting practices, as well as with advisers and accountants who wanted to identify the meaningful differences between licensees. It will facilitate approaches and conversations initiated by planners and accountants who can connect with dealer groups they are interested in talking to.
“Financial planning and accounting practice owners told us that alignment of business and value propositions with those of a dealer group has become the crucial point in their decision-making process but is not always easy to identify and assess,” said Stoykov.
“There is a real need for a simple and confidential way to identify and connect with their dealer group of choice, and get the level of information, access, and transparency they need.
“Practices are also often also small businesses so, like any entrepreneur, owners are looking for support, connections and services that fill gaps in their offering or allow them to benefit from scale and cost-efficiencies that dealer groups provide.”
Similarly, dealer groups have been challenged by the often time-consuming, expensive and inefficient process of responding to approaches and pursuing practices, said Stoykov. “They want assistance in showcasing their offerings from marketing support and communications, compliance support and technical services, through to education and training, remuneration and, most importantly, their unique value proposition for target practices.
“There is also a growing market for dealer group recruitment of accounting practices and conversations between these groups are also catered for.”
The Marketplace also allows practices to make contact with other relevant service providers, such as law, broking, technology, insurance, financial products and lending businesses.
“Interest in The Marketplace has been strong with more than half the market already signed up,” said Stoykov. “The big five advice brands – AMP AXA, BT, Westpac, Commonwealth and NAB MLC have signed up, as well as key independents that have approached us to be listed.”
“I think the market is welcoming a new way for both practices to connect with their dealer group of choice, and for licensees to recruit target practices and reduce churn in their network. The big players in the industry are taking a step back now and looking at the real value – and cost – of this approach,” said Stoykov.