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The shape and make-up of the financial advice industry is evolving, as market pressures persist and adviser numbers dwindle. Still, in the face of new changes, the best lessons are often the oldest and simplest. We recently spoke to a group of advisers about the enduring value in collaboration, planning and learning.

1. Collaborate to connect and grow

The financial advice sector has always had a strong propensity to share. Whether it be on social media, at conferences or at training events, the advice cohort is one that has long been known for giving away some of its best-kept secrets for the greater good.

Since the pandemic began, prioritising collaboration has understandably been a challenge for many, especially with the swift absence of face-to-face events.

“Running an advice business can be isolating, so being able to come together among a tightly knit group of peers to share perspectives and learn from each other is incredibly valuable,” says Sherise Mercer, Head of Macquarie’s Virtual Adviser Network (VAN).

A clear theme which came out of VAN’s new Build for the Future program, launched in 2021, was that it’s hard to match the value you gain from a conversation with a peer, even if a conversation is short and incidental.

“After a few challenging years, it was amazing to join a group of people who are really positive about the future of advice. They acknowledged how I was feeling, and their anecdotal advice was very powerful,” says Jessica Waller, Director of Bridge Private Wealth.

2. Prioritise your planning 

In the day-to-day pressures of running a business, particularly during the pandemic when escalations and client requests were consistently urgent, foundational planning can understandably fall by the wayside.

Advice firms would know the importance of having tools, frameworks and practices in place to support business strategy – ‘if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail’ is an old adage. In particular, advisers could benefit from dedicating time to planning how they will integrate drivers of business success into their firms, including:

  1. Making better decisions and executing successfully.
  2. Having a strong differentiated proposition.
  3. Understanding the benefits of scale and planning for sustainable growth.
  4. Encouraging a culture of ownership.

Ross Potter, Senior Financial Adviser with Queensland-based Cervus Private Wealth, sees significant value in a roadmap with clear accountabilities.

“It’s easy to have a big picture view, but taking those steps is where the hard work is done,” he says.

3. Never stop learning 

We know financial advisers are no strangers to training, particularly in the last few years as regulation and licensing requirements have shifted expectations. But if everyone is doing a benchmark level of ongoing learning, how do you stand out in the crowd?

An additional consideration here is that record numbers of advisers are leaving the industry, meaning there’s a shrinking base of knowledge and talent required to serve Australians who are seeking advice.

At Macquarie, we’re big believers in the value of financial advice and how it benefits Australians on their wealth creation journey. Our recently expanded VAN program is designed to support the next generation of high-performing financial advice firms.

VAN Build for the Future provides tailored coaching through an 18-month series of webinars, workshops, conferences and benchmarking exercises. It’s designed for firms with revenues of $1 million to $5 million who are ready to take the next leap forward.

“We believe emerging advice practices will also play a vital role in ensuring a sustainable financial advice industry,” says Mercer. “An industry that’s prepared to serve the needs of Australians – now and into the future.”

 To learn more about the VAN Build for the Future program watch this video or visit our website for more information –



The Macquarie Virtual Adviser Network (VAN) is provided by Macquarie Bank Limited ABN 46 008 583 542 AFSL 237502 (‘Macquarie’). The provision of VAN and the contents of this article do not amount to a financial product or financial service nor does it involve the provision of general or personal financial advice. Opinions or recommendations that are expressed are subject to change without notice and no member of Macquarie makes any warranty in relation to, or accepts any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage suffered by any person arising out of or in relation to the material in this article.