I honestly didn’t think I’d be surprised by anything that was revealed by the Royal Commission in to financial services. Well, I should have known better!
AMP giving 20 misleading statements to its regulator really took me aback. When lying to the industry policeman becomes a business strategy, things really have hit a low.
I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry.
There are so many other lowlights.
The head of the financial advice business saying he had not "turned my mind" to thinking about adviser commissions. Charging financial advice fees but not meeting the client, with the Commission calling CBA the "Gold Medallist" in fee-for-no-service. An external "independent" board report for ASIC revised by AMP management through 25 drafts, including redacting the CEO's name. An executive unable to identify what he was apologising for. Using the ACCC acronym for the Advice, Culture & Compliance Committee. Counsel accusing a CBA witness of "dissembling" and "misleading". A CEO being accused of lying to the commission.
Really, you couldn't invent this stuff.
And of course, in amongst all this there is the consumer - those people who've had the bad experiences, who have been treated poorly, who lost money, lifestyles and trust.
They deserve so much better from an industry claiming to be a 'profession'.
Having said all that, the lives of most of Australians would be improved by quality financial advice.
There really are genuine alternatives to the banks and big insurerance companies and the way they conduct their businesses.
There are many, many quality advisers who operate fee-for-service businesses. These are people who really do put clients at the front and centre of everything they do and structure their business in such a way to make sure it happens.
The very best of them are free of all the conflicts of interest that distort advice. That means zero connections with product providers. They don’t accept commissions. They don’t use percentage based fees.
Here’s a list:
Independent Financial Advisers in Australia
If I were looking for an adviser, here are the questions I would be asking (yes, this blog is a little old, but it is extremely pertinent right now)
The most important questions when choosing an adviser
As I've said, the lives of most of Australians would be improved by quality financial advice. If you are seeking advice, make sure it is the right type - fixed fees with no conflicts and ties to product providers. More on that here.
Tell you friends.
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