Another weekend, another disclosure and another call for a royal commission into the finance sector.
And to abuse a hackneyed phrase, is this ongoing demolition of trust by headline (justified or not) the new normal? Is there going to be a time when we’ve reached peak-financial scandal and the outrage dissipates or the whistle-blowers run out-of-puff?
If the past year or so is anything to go by maybe not but it’s more likely that we might just stop caring or even worse cease to be in the least surprised. This time it’s the turn of the IOOF, which grandly began life in 1846 as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Without going into the possible rights and wrongs the former friendly society stands accused of misconduct, insider trading and front running (an illegal stockbroking practice). Recently in a meeting with principals of a large provider of financial advice services there was some surprise when we suggested there might be some issues of trust with consumers.
We were assured, despite those pesky headlines, their consumers still had sufficient trust and confidence in the outfit to stay put. It could be argued ‘scandals’ about others ie competitors might actually be good for business as switching providers might simply mean out of the frying pan and into the fire.
All of which makes a grass-roots campaign to try and improve the perception around financial planning all the more timely. However while IOOF has $150 billion in funds under management and is valued at $3 billion our intrepid campaigners, who are planners themselves, are working hard for the money.
So far they have raised pledges of some $15,000 towards a target of $100,000 to fund a media campaign to correct the poor image planners may have and tell some stories around the good work they do. Their campaign is called Positivity for Planners and deserves to have even more support than the 69 planners who’ve kicked the can so far.
Go to www.positivityforplanners.com.au for more.
One campaign cannot stop the scandals but to see planners who care and want to do something is both encouraging, necessary and nicely surprising. It would be nice to think those bigger players, who have felt the lash of unfriendly commentary and coverage around their advice services, would actively help the individuals behind this much-needed campaign.
By Christopher Zinn, Communications & Campaigns Director, Adviser Ratings