Insights for Investors by Investors

The year that was, our most read articles

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Given the seeming obsession with the impending inflation outbreak in Australia, and around the world for that matter, one could be excused for thinking this would be among the most read articles for the year. In fact, it was quite the opposite, with our readership of Australia’s leading financial advisers looking for positivity, not fear.

Big name changes, acquisitions and sustainability were among the most popular investment-focused articles, yet once again the advice industry was more keenly focused on the regulatory and compliance environment.

The announcement by Labor MP Stephen Jones at the AIOFP conference just a few days ago managed to top the charts for the year. It is clear that regulation remains a lightning rod for the industry, with the proposal to remove the need for existing advisers with over a decade of experience to gain a bachelor’s degree met with both consternation and relief.

Naturally, this article and announcement comes just a few short weeks away from the date on which all existing financial advisers must have passed their ethics exam, and a with a few years to go to undertake additional bridging education. Whilst our piece did not intend to ‘take sides’ the extensive comments on this and other trade publications highlighted the continued uncertainty in the sector with policy seeming to be made ‘on the fly’.

FASEA also dominated headlines earlier in the year when it was announced the body would be disbanded, as well as when the timeframe for resitting the exam was removed in an effort to allow more people to sit before the deadline and face another significant educational commitment. The final exams saw just 52 per cent of those sitting pass, with growing questions around the affordability of advice as numbers dwindle.

Proposals to change the legislation that forced the construction of long winded Statements of Advice was clearly of interest, as was the relief offered to those seeking to rollout new Enhanced Fee Disclosure Statements across large client bases.

On the investment side, news that one of Australia’s top performing global equity managers, Joseph Lai, would be departing Platinum, eventually starting his own shop at the Fidante-backed Ox Capital, was the most popular. This was followed closely by Yarra Capital’s announcement that they had acquired Nikko’s Australian investment operations including the popular Tyndall brand.

But most of all, it was all about people. The most popular investment pieces were profiles on the sustainability-focused Stewart Global Investors, Ausbil’s high performing global small cap team and Bell Asset Management’s small to mid-cap strategy. The commonality between the group is a focus on delivering diversification to portfolios that some suggest have relied on large cap, global growth and momentum names for far too long.

As we move into another year and the outlook statements come in thick and fast, let’s hope there is a little more smooth sailing and in person meetings to come in the year ahead.

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