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The Future is Independent

John Hewison
Founder and Director
15 Dec 2014

Last week I came across a very interesting and somewhat amusing press release issued by Steve Tucker and Paul Heath of Koda, a new so-called “independent” planning group.

Tucker said “As we considered the landscape of wealth advice we saw a gap – that of an independent, high quality firm, staffed by experienced professionals that serve clients in a manner completely free of the conflicts of interest which exist in many firms.”

He went on to advise that “We believe the wealth advice firm of the future is independent.”

I predict that as a result of a light being shone on the impact of vertically integrated financial advice, and the handing down of FSI Final Report, we will begin to see an influx of those who once headed up conflicted, commission hoarding, non-independent institutions now claiming are they inappropriate – and this is the perfect example.

What I would like to point out though is rather than there being a gap in quality independent professional firms in the market, in actual fact some of us have been practicing this way for decades.

Koda is an institution headed up by two institutional stalwarts who recognise that consumers are now better informed and are suspicious of the vertically integrated model. Due to the landscape of rule changes they appear have jumped ship to the independent “dark side” – prior to this they have been running the “big is better” slogan.

I am personally affronted by their comments pointing to a lack in high quality, independent wealth advice firms as they look to ride the coat-tails of those of us who have lived and breathed the independent advice model and have work hard to uphold our reputable brand.

We have done, and continue to, make a living by giving advice that is in the best interest of our clients; not managing a conglomerate and skimming a margin off the top. This is vastly different from the model that Tucker and Heath would be accustomed to.

Hewison Private Wealth is owned by its’ professional partners who themselves advise clients for a living and employ quality client service personnel to assist the management of client’s affairs. There are no structured fingers in the revenue pie and there are no external layers of cost. The only relationship is that between adviser and client and the costs are kept affordable.

As I mentioned earlier, I predict we are going to see a raft of these new pseudo institutional start-ups spruiking the “independence” badge of credibility as the old model crumbles. But buyer beware, this is just another version of the same greed driven model under a different nomenclature.

Before you select your financial adviser I implore that you do your due diligence and ensure that they are truly independent so you can be sure that the advice you are receiving truly is in your best interest. 

Hewison Private Wealth is a Melbourne based independent financial planning firm. Our financial advisers are highly qualified wealth managers and specialise in self managed super funds (SMSF), financial planning, retirement planning advice and investment portfolio management. If you would like to speak to a financial adviser on how you can secure your financial future please contact us 03 8548 4800, email info@hewison.com.au or visit www.hewison.com.auPlease note: The advice provided above is general information only and individuals should seek specialised advice from a qualified financial advisor. The views in this blog are those of the individual and may not represent the general opinion of the firm. Please contact Hewison Private Wealth for more information.