First of all, welcome to 2016! I trust you all had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year with family and friends.
2016 is going to be a big year for McKern and Associates and our clients. Since we began in 2002, we have prided ourselves on providing quality tax and business advice. We have also maintained good working relationships with various Financial Planners to whom we refer you on occasion, as necessary. Up until now this referral system worked well for us, allowing us to remain as involved in the strategies as we needed to be, while complying with licensing legislation.
From 1 July 2016, the rules for Accountants are changing. ASIC are removing the ‘Accountants Exemption’ which effectively allowed us to discuss limited matters in relation to Superannuation and Self-Managed Superfunds without holding an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL). From 1 July 2016, we will have to refer you to a Financial Planner every time we need to discuss superannuation, or alternatively become licensed ourselves. In order to continue providing the quality advice and strategies we have been, referring these conversations to a Financial Planner was not an option for us.
Accordingly, Shelly and myself have now completed the necessary education requirements (and Scott is mere days away) and more recently discussed various licensing options with established partners. As a result of these, I am entering in to a relationship with an established and reputable dealer group that is close to being finalised, pending some minor administrative requirements. Current indications are that from March 2016, McKern Strategic will be a fully licensed authorised representative under an AFSL, operating from our existing accounting locations in collaboration with the accounting practice providing strategic superannuation, insurance, succession planning and various other services. Due to this decision, we will no longer need to arrange separate meetings with financial planners in order to satisfy licensing requirements.
Whilst we have enjoyed good relationships with a number of financial planners, some of them have struck out on their own new directions which we are not involved in and thus the legislation and consideration of client needs has resulted in us deciding to forge new relationships moving forward. To this end I have employed an experienced investment advisor who comes with a diversified background in financial planning, property and insurance, to work alongside me, ensuring our strategies are implemented and maintained whilst satisfying the various licensing requirements. I have also been fortunate to engage an experienced Customer Services Officer who will ensure that every form, every signature and every step in the process is done with the minimum of stress.
In summary, I must stress that I am very excited by this challenge and whilst personally I love being an accountant I am going to take an active role in the Investment Advice Process as I believe it goes hand in hand with the “big picture direction” that I work with clients on. I envisage that this will streamline the investment and accounting affairs of our clients, will reduce costs when compared to separating Planning and Accounting and will enable me to finally have “complete” conversations about your future. We will of course continue to work with your existing financial planners should that be your wish.
Please do not hesitate to contact me or your client manager should you wish to meet or discuss this further, and as an organisation the McKern Group looks forward to being able to provide more of the services you require this year, whilst reducing the amount of time you spend in meetings.