Instability, ‘financial pornography’ and the fear driving financial advice

From
Jim Stackpool

Jim Stackpool

A national group of financial advisory firms, Certainty Advice Group, predicts the populism sweeping aside long-held assumptions about financial security will change the financial advice landscape forever.

This theme is explored in the recently released white paper: Our Secret Financial Insecurities: Ensuring our rough patches don’t become our financial realities.

“Since Trump gobsmacked most media experts; since the Shooters Party broke the 68-year reign of the National Party in the Orange NSW by-election; and since Brexit the message is becoming clearer,” says MD of Certainty Advice Group, Jim Stackpool. “People hate feeling powerless. Neither government policy nor technological change can halt this response to real issues, real concerns, and real people.

“Financial advice needs to change, and it needs to change fast.”

Certainty Advice Group predicts that despite the relatively small drop in the recent Westpac-Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index for Australia (dropping only 1.1 per cent in November), Australians’ private feelings about their financial insecurity and control are growing. A large part of this is due to lack of knowing who to trust and turn to for broad, unbiased, professional advice.

“Financial advice has become a product. And more Australians are figuring that out,” says Paul Heatley, GM of TWD, an award-winning Certainty Advice firm in Perth.

Paul started his advice career in a bank out in the Narrogin wheat belt, where he was trained to offer the impartial, ‘invisible’ advice that helped clients forward financially. “That worked until this kind of new bank thinking had us focus on sales targets instead. The result is that more people are disillusioned as to where to get that advice.”

Jeff Thurecht of Evalesco, a Certainty Advice firm in Sydney, believes this is about keeping up with the Joneses “or, ensuring our kids keep up with the Joneses’ kids,” he says. “What’s different today, thanks to ‘financial pornography’ is that too many people are still in the dark about their financial lives. They don’t know or understand basic products, they don’t know the questions to ask or who to ask them of, while, understandably, feeling they are deserving of the rewards of their hard work. No one is immune. So, we in the advice industries – such as accountants, banking, and financial advisers – have to work harder to address these issues if we are to get through this rising tide of financial insecurity.”

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