In his original version, Pearler avoided suggesting that the exchange information was advice.
Now, as the 65,000-member investment broker has launched its forum more widely, it plans to raise the voice of advisers, Nicolaides said.
“We definitely thought about the investment space and … what became clear to us is that advisors are trying to find ways to engage with young people, but that’s just not not so simple,” he said.
“You can’t just open a social media presence and expect to gain traction immediately.”
Aim for “high quality content”
Six investment and financial planners are currently answering questions on the forum, with Pearler directing them high-quality questions that can be answered under the general advice provisions. Advisors do not receive payment for posting responses on the exchange.
Questions answered so far include, “What if, 30 years from now, when I have hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars worth of stock, no one wants to buy it? ” and “I see pretty consistent downward movement in all but one or two of my stocks. Is there anything I can do differently?”
Nicolaides said the exchange was not aimed at thousands of advisers and commentators offering answers to the same questions, but rather wanted to surface high-quality content.
“For this to be useful to people, you need to have a balance of different points of view, but just enough information, so that it doesn’t become overwhelming.”
He said as Pearler’s clients, who typically favored exchange-traded funds and index investing, got older, they would increasingly seek out financial advisers.
“We don’t know what it looks like – but [we are] determine how young people can best find a counselor who is suitable for them.
“We don’t have a business model around it, we don’t know what it looks like but… there’s this long-term future where we know advice is important, and we think it’s going to be important for our company and our investors.
The platform’s move coincides with the broader financial services industry debate about what the future of financial advice looks like, as Allens’ partner Michelle Levy chairs the quality of advice review.
The Levy Review released 12 draft proposals to roll back regulations aimed at improving access to financial advice, including the controversial plan to remove the requirement for advisers to act in the best interests of their clients and to respond instead to a requirement of “good advice”.
“It is clear that the current regulatory framework is a significant barrier to consumer access to financial advice,” Ms. Levy wrote in the draft report.
“It also prevents advisers and institutions from providing advice and assistance to their clients… Removing regulatory requirements could make it easier for the industry to provide advice on financial products and provide it at lower cost.”