JMI Wealth has added two new advisers to its growing team, sourcing one from BNZ and another from the dwindling AMP-owned AdviceFirst group.
Jason Watson, JMI Wealth head of advice, said the two recent adviser hires bring the group’s total advisory force to nine, representing an increase of 50 per cent over the last year.
Watson said the business – an Investment Services Group (ISG) subsidiary – was experiencing increasing demand from clients as well as interest from advisers looking for a new home ahead of the looming advice industry reforms.
“There is a growing value in the advice market,” he said. “The new regulations are prompting advisers to review the way the operate and what corporate structures make sense.”
The door opens in a couple of weeks for transitional licensing applications under the Financial Services Legislations Amendment Act (FSLAA).
But in addition to the regulatory-inspired industry reshuffle, Watson said JMI Wealth – and probably most advisory firms – have seen a marked uptick in demand as the super-low interest rate environment flushes term deposit investors out of the woodwork.
“We’re getting a lot of new retiree clients coming to us asking to help them find alternatives to term deposits as they can’t survive on the income at current rates,” he said. “People are asking ‘what else is there’, but finding the right solution can be difficult, which is why they need advice.”
JMI Wealth was on the look-out for more advisers, Watson said, to meet the growing demand. But it’s a highly-competitive market for advisers in the run-up to FSLAA.
It is understood the big broking houses, in particular, have been aggressively growing their advisory ranks with bank-based advisers a popular target.
The crumbling AMP NZ empire has added another dynamic to the mix as the once-mighty distribution powerhouse prepares to sell. In August, for example, the former AMP adviser association carved off a new co-operative of independently-owned businesses under the Wealthpoint brand: the group houses about 50 firms and 200 advisers under its roof.
Similarly, the AMP subsidiary, AdviceFirst, has proven vulnerable to poachers over the last couple of years. The group, which merged with iconic advice brand Spicers in 2017, lists just over 30 advisers – well down from the combined advisers numbers of almost 80 recorded before the marriage.
For instance, JMI Wealth has signed on two former AdviceFirst advisers, hiring Auckland-based Lynette Ball this February and Sue Richards from the KeriKeri office more recently. Watson said JMI Wealth also employed a former AdviceFirst administration specialist. Shameema Shameem, the firm’s other recent adviser hire, hails from BNZ.
The diverse backgrounds of the JMI Wealth advisory team has also reinforced the group’s ‘platform agnostic’ approach. Watson said while the business was originally based on Aegis only, it now has exposure to FNZ via some of the new advisers who use the platform.
“We are right at home with either platform – we have some on Adminis, too,” he said.
Overall, Watson said it was an “incredibly busy and exciting time” for JMI Wealth and the broader advisory industry. Although, he said the FSLAA-led adviser reformation would probably be a short-lived phenomenon.
“I think there’s a finite amount of time we’ll be seeing this level of activity,” Watson said.