A common theme to arise from the ongoing Royal Commission is a realisation that big does not always mean better.
A high proportion of the scandals that have been uncovered can be laid at the feet of highly paid executives who have preferred to look at the short-term big picture of sales growth, maximum profitability and maximum bonuses, at the expense of long-term business goodwill, trust and actual care for their clients/customers.
We are a financial services firm, and therefore will almost inevitably be affected in some way by the eventual outcomes of the Commission and its recommendations. More importantly though, we need to reassure our clients that in relation to the many scandals “we are not like them!”
Many of you have heard us say over the years that where there is money, there is greed. It is not confined to any particular field of endeavour or profession, any institution, any socio-economic group or business structure. However, the field of financial services deserves particular focus, because it is basically all about money!
One of the issues for a large institution can be the lack of individual accountability. An institution has dealings with thousands of clients, and in fairness, it can be difficult for staff to maintain any continuity of relationship with those seeking assistance. As a result, when issues arise the customer tends to blame the company, rather than the individual. Human nature being what it is, if there are incentives to sell rather than advise, and if there is no personal guilt when things go awry, some individuals will inevitably abuse the faith placed in them.
At FB Wealth Management, we recognised the dangers of institutional influence many years ago, when we chose to apply for our own Australian Financial Services Licence, or Dealers License as it was known in those times. We decided to take the path less travelled so as not to be beholden to the instructions of a bank executive, and we maintain that this is of vital importance to our clients as it allows us to offer advice that is in our client’s best interests.
Attainment of this licence carries great responsibility, as it means that the directors are the ones accountable to our clients. More importantly though, clients know exactly who they are dealing with and who has to face the music if there are problems.
This responsibility also means that we have to be very selective when employing staff, and we are proud to say that over the many years of our existence, our staff have always been client focussed and keen to assist in any way possible. The current crop are no exceptions!