Financial planners should be more open and honest about what really bugs them (not about the Treasurer) but about their own customers. They’ve copped a one-way abuse from politicians and the public for years, but we’ve barely heard a peep about what the consumer might be doing which is not right.
Advisers may have a misplaced belief in the adage that "the customer can do no wrong" but we’re not talking about buying socks here - but in purchasing and following advice. Hence, we might profit from some well-intentioned advice (which could actually hurt).
I’m moved to this heretical thought because it might do us consumers some good if we realised some of the stupid, short-sighted, self-deluding and ridiculous plays we make in the eyes of advisers.
Advice should include honest feedback not just about our own shortcomings in money matters (surely why we need advice) but also on a more aggregated analysis of where we collectively go wrong too.
The less than diplomatic tweets from Brisbane planner James Howarth, about Josh Frydenberg’s Jewish heritage (the Assistant Treasurer at the time of writing, but now the Minister for the Environment & Energy), revealed no more than his apparent unsuitability to dispense any kind of advice. But given his short fuse and lack of political correctness I’d love to hear what he really thinks of some of his clients at the now effectively retired, "Retirement Wealth Services".
On a more sober note, I wonder how honest planners are, and can be, about their clients? We know how many professionals will "let rip" privately, but what about letting us in on the secret? So if we clients can do no wrong - let us know. If we really are a bunch of greedy and lazy ratbags who aren’t prepared to pay for a decent service, or follow your advice, say so.
If the truth as usual probably lies somewhere in between please don’t spare us some diplomatic feedback as to how we can help you do better.
Whatever has happened on Twitter, it need not be professional suicide.
By Christopher Zinn, Communications & Campaigns Director