The Evolving Advice Landscape

Recent Industry Challenges

Over the last few years, the Australian financial advice landscape has experienced an unprecedented pace of change.

Since 2015, there has been a steady migration of advisers from large, institutionally owned practices to self-licensed or small-to-medium practices. This rate of migration accelerated rapidly in the wake of the Hayne Royal Commission as the banks exited advice altogether, ending the domination of the ‘Big Six’.

To illustrate, 39% of all advisers practising in 2018 were licensed to an AFSL with more than 500 advisers. By the end of 2020, this figure had shrunk to just 27%.1 Also by 2020, 61% of AFSLs were in the category of 1–10 advisers, with around 20% of all advisers licensed by an entity of that size.2

The regulatory framework for financial advice also continues to evolve rapidly. Advisers have had to contend with a continual slew of new regulations including Design and Distribution Obligations (DDO), breach reporting, and fee disclosures and permissions, to name a few. Meanwhile, the new professional development requirements have proved challenging for many, while increasing the cost burden for most.

In response to these challenges, and regulator-enforced remuneration changes, advisers have been leaving the industry in droves. In just a few years, the advice profession has shrunk from well over 25,000 advisers to just under 20,000, and this number is expected to drop even further.3

But despite the challenges facing the industry, a new breed of advice innovators are finding many reasons to be optimistic.


ASIC financial advice register, 31 December 2020.


AR Data, Adviser Musical Chairs Report, Q4 2020.


Rainmaker Information, Financial Adviser Report, 2021.

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