Recently expanding our financial planning business to Cairns, I decided to research the market place i.e. competitors with some interesting results.
First a little bit about Cairns.
Population: 142,000 approx. (2014)
Industries: Tourism, Agriculture, Marine, Retail,
Local Businesses: 13,095 (2014)
Employed Locals: 80,162 (2014)
GDP: $7.62 billion (represents 2.8% of Queensland's GDP)
Known for: The gateway to the Great Barrier Reef & Wet Tropics
However my research lead me more personally to my own industry of financial planning.
Financial Planning Businesses Total in Cairns: 78
Bank/Superannuation/Institutionally Owned: 71
Independent or Independently Owned: 7
Two things surprised me from my findings. Firstly for a working population of just over 80,000 there seemed to be a high number of financial planning businesses servicing the region.
Secondly a little over 90% of these financial planning businesses I found are either bank, superannuation or large institutionally owned.
What concerns me is that with all the media coverage about conflicted remuneration and poor advice acknowledged by the large institutions is standing in the way of consumers receiving best advice "the CBA and the NAB acknowledged that vertical integration creates conflict of interest problems" http://levittrobinson.com/update-financial-institutions-ignore-integration-conflicts/ even more so for consumers in FNQ (Far Noth Queensland) with scandals such as Storm, Financial Wisdom and based on my research up here in Cairns there is currently only a 1/10 chance of consumers receiving potentially conflict free advice. That's frightening!
Thankfully there are a handful of great financial planners up here in Cairns.
A good starting point to find them is to simply ask; How are you paid? and Who do you work for?