Over the last couple of months, the Banking Royal Commission has, finally, exposed a variety of unsavoury practices that have been taking place in the Banking/Financial Planning community, triggering investigations and lawsuits levelled primarily at the four big banks and AMP.
While I was well aware of many of the issues raised, I was also shocked and disappointed on hearing some of the client experiences that had surfaced during the proceedings. And one of the takeaways from this sad story that became quite clear to me is that the big bank's foray into wealth management (circa early 1990s) has essentially failed, and they know it.
Today, non-bank owned advice firms (like Westmount) currently represent only about 15% of the entire financial advice profession (85% are bank owned, AMP owned, or aligned with a union fund). But now, banks are heading for the exits, offloading their respective 'wealth management' divisions en masse.
So while this level of negative media attention is sometimes a little difficult for me to hear (as it unfairly tars every financial adviser with the same brush), I'm quietly optimistic that both clients and professional financial advisers will significantly benefit from the bank ownership 'exodus' taking place today; a direct consequence of the Banking Royal Commission.
Hopefully we're witnessing the early stages of a shift to a more thoughtful, transparent financial advice model where the client's best interests are at heart - the way it was always meant to be.
As we move forward, feel free to call me personally if you would like to discuss your own arrangements with us.
Rick Maggi, Certified Financial Planner