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Royal commission

Warning – emotional blog below

Andrew Hewison
Managing Director
1 May 2018

The headlines scream “The Royal Commission uncovers grossly unethical practices”. Well, I don’t want to gloat but… I told you so.

On Dec 5 2017, I wrote in my blog “We will see numerous examples where AFSLs (perhaps not just the banks) have not shown a duty of care to their customer. Where ludicrous financial incentives were provided to those offering financial advice based on volume. And where institutions recommended clients to invest in company owned products, rather than proposing options that were in the best interest of their client.”

I raise this not to be a smart aleck but to highlight that for many in the industry, the Royal Commission findings are of absolutely no surprise! 

Hewison Private Wealth clients and colleagues will know, that for 30+ years we have campaigned Government and the Financial Planning Association (FPA) to take an unsympathetic, hard line against any behavior that could compromise a financial adviser’s ability to provide unconflicted advice in the client’s best interest.

Yet here we are. The politicians are now claiming ignorance of how bad it was within the banking system. If only they’d read my December 5 blog…

In the same blog I said:
“A courageous government would start again by rebuilding the foundations and basing them on one simple premise – “what’s in the consumer’s best interest?”

Another patch job will not cut it! Nor will a slap on the wrist for the banks along with a strongly worded statement.

What should happen? I’ve got a few ideas:

  • Cut out ALL commissions, old and new
  • Lift education standards (in progress)
  • Legislate against volume based bonuses
  • Invest $1b in raising financial literacy standards of the consumer

The Government is not the only toothless tiger in this miserable saga. The peak industry body, the Financial Planning Association (FPA), has sought to protect celebrity adviser Sam Henderson of Henderson Maxwell from diabolical advice and unethical behaviour.

The FPA claim that they were trying to avoid backlash from other FPA members but in doing so they violated the integrity of their truly ethical members. Smart move guys!

Whilst I do believe in the FPA’s codes of conduct and ethics, along with the credibility of the certified financial planner (CFP) designation, they only hold weight if the FPA themselves are brave enough to uphold them.

Sam Henderson certainly seems like a bad egg and the smell of rotten eggs is wafting throughout the system. But let me say this. I am proud to be a Financial Planner in Australia even in light of the disgusting findings of the Royal Commission into the Australian financial system.

For many years now there have been green shoots sprouting all over Australia. There exist many entirely ethical, unbiased and independent financial planning professionals.

And now, more than ever, Australians need unbiased, independent Financial Planners to guide and protect them. Ethical and certified financial planners who form long term partnership with clients, focusing on helping clients achieve their long term goals and dreams. And for that, we are here and not going anywhere.

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.