No bad blood between Costas and BT

By Penny Pryor

The managing director of the newly formed The Principals' Community, Kon Costas, says the organisation's breaking away from BT was something he has been advocating for.

"I have been advocating for it because there has been a lot of change that has occurred in the regulatory environment," Costas says.

Like BT's Practice Principals' Community before it - which BT will close on 10 December 2021 - The Principals' Community will support and provide services to self-licensed financial advisory firms, and will be independent of any institution.

"It's business as usual from a services perspective," Costas says.

"As at yesterday [17 November 2021] I'm in new business, being The Principals' Community. I now have the ability to talk to the community and talk to the staff that are going to be my team."

Costas says he has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the advisor community and is looking to re-establish connections with the businesses that were part of the community at BT.

"Over the last few years, we have supported many businesses in maintaining their own AFSL or transitioning to their new AFSLs," Costas says.

He stresses that the community is product agnostic and while it will maintain a relationship with BT as an education partner, there is no obligation to use BT product.

"We provide services to advice businesses. We don't provide product ... we have education partners who support us to keep providing education and BT will keep continuing to do that role and we will leverage off their technical advisers," Costas said.

While he believes the forming of the new group separate to BT is a natural progression, there is no bad blood.

"BT [has] been an awesome place to learn ... over the last 10 years."

The independence should also give the community the opportunity to look at what's missing for the self-licensed adviser.

"Of course, having the freedom now to be able to expand the service offer will be something that we will concentrate on as its evolves," Costas said.

Costas has an adviser council of 10 principals of self-licensed business who will advise the community on additional support and services that might be needed as they are required.