With the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) changes now in place it is necessary that Financial Planners not only comply with the new rules regarding conflicted remuneration and the need to act in the best interests of their clients but that the clients also know the status of the Financial Planner regarding independence. This latest research shows that considerable confusion remains among the users of financial planners regarding the extent to which the planner is perceived to be independent. These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Research Single Source survey.
The main area of confusion regarding the independence of financial planners occurs when the planner is branded differently to the major fund manager that owns the planning group. For example, 55% of the clients using Financial Wisdom (owned by the Commonwealth Bank) consider it to be independent, which is well ahead of the 14% who consider Commonwealth Bank branded planners to be independent.
Financial Planner Perceived as ‘Independent’
Source: Roy Morgan Research Consumer Single Source; July 2009 – June 2014, n = 43,815
The planners belonging to all the major banks and labelled as such are generally understood to be ‘tied’ rather than ‘independent’. Only 11% of Westpac financial planners’ customers considered them to be independent, compared to 12% for the NAB, 13% for the ANZ and 14% for the Commonwealth Bank.
On the other hand, three of the major banks’ own financial planning groups are largely perceived as independent by their clients. These include Godfrey Pembroke owned by NAB (considered by 50% of clients to be independent); RetireInvest owned by ANZ (37% considering it to be independent) and Count Wealth (42% considered independent) owned by CBA. AMP Group own Charter (48% considered independent) and Hillross (44% considered independent).
Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, says:
“The ease of obtaining wealth products and the increase in people using the direct channel means that the Retail funds management sector will increasingly rely on their adviser network and advice to retain customers, but at the same time be acting in the best interests of their client.
“With a large proportion of advisers being owned by fund managers the need for clients to understand the extent to which their adviser is independent will become critical and should not be confused by branding.
The Roy Morgan Research ‘Image of Professions Survey, 2014’, conducted in April showed that only 28% of the population rated financial planners as either ‘very high’ or ‘high’ for ethics and honesty. There is still some way to go in explaining the lack of trust that currently exists towards the profession.”
Roy Morgan Research
Roy Morgan Research is Australia's best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
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