There's meant to be a consumer revolution going on, as technology means people have more power and choice in the market for goods and services - than ever before.
In the ways we shop for music, film, hotels, airline tickets and so on, there’s been enormous change - but some areas such a financial services have proved more resistant to this future.
It’s inevitably coming, as a whole sector of start-up business labelled as “Fintech" sprout up, such as peer-to-peer lenders, new collaborative investment platforms and now, Adviser Ratings.
These lean, ambitious young pups can be disruptive of the existing models in financial services, such as banks with huge overheads and staff and services and entrenched ways of operating.
In financial advice there are problems: around confidence, independence, transparency, cost and most of all - the consumer's ability to assess who is best and what’s not.
With hotels or meals, we have a fair idea what we think is "up-to-scratch" or a "stinker" but how would we rate say, a financial planner?
Is it on their cheerful personality? Or the rate-of-return on the customer’s assets?
Not surprisingly, research by the regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) shows that financial advice they expertly rated as "severely lacking," was considered "good" by consumers.
It’s just one of the barriers we have, in finding a trustworthy and competent financial planner. We just don’t know what’s best for us.
Many who do find a planner rely on family and friends but they probably only know one adviser and it means to hard to compare with others.
But if we consumers could pool our information, and rate and review and share our experiences with planners, suddenly the individual is armed with much more information to make decisions.
This is simple idea behind Adviser Ratings. The industry know about how they themselves, rate advisers and their qualifications, but the consumer does not usually have access to this information.
Now, if enough people and planners start to contribute their comments, data and profiles it should start to become easier to find the planner you need.
Armed with more and better information, and the solidarity of others, consumers can demand planners who provide the kind of services they want - and charge for it in ways they prefer.
For example, I might just want some specific advice about an inheritance and want to pay an agreed upon, fee-for-service, in dealing with it, as opposed to an asset-based fee, or other types of fees.
In this way, if enough consumers engage, they can reward those advisers who are prepared to be transparent, to truly put the customer interests first, and who have the requisite expertise and experience.
It’s a small start and there will be other players, but given the parlous state of the financial advice industry and it’s need to become more professional - we believe this revolution has a chance.