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  • Robert de Lepervanche

The Royal Commission – Robert’s little rant

Have you ever had the feeling where you really want to say something, but you are not quite sure how to say it, or even what to say. Well that’s where I am right now.

I am proud of the industry I am in and even more so of the work we do for our clients at COMPASS. I know we make a significant difference for most of the lives we touch, because you tell us this. BUT right now I am really annoyed, frustrated and somewhat deflated about behaviours that are being exposed in my industry.

I say my industry because I take it personally. Behaviours from large corporates through to incompetent or greedy individuals and I’d even go as far to say our regulators, have a lot to answer for. Like most people I speak with, I am disgusted by the behaviour that is being exposed by the Royal Commission and highlighted in the press. Even if at times the press are sensationalising things just a tad!

The real loss though, will be through people in general turning away from seeking advice….and that will be a shame. Yes you might say I’m speaking through my hip pocket with that comment, but I’m not really. Through time and hard work I am fortunate enough to be part of a fairly mature and solid business and hence we will be ok. However it has been proven that people who seek financial advice (maybe I should preface that with “quality” advice) end up in a far better position than those who don’t obtain advice.

By a far better position, I don’t just mean financially. It also includes the intangibles such as feeling in control, not worrying about things and being comfortable with the decisions they make. So the real shame is people will turn away from seeking advice as an outcome of what is currently being exposed and who can blame them. This will be detrimental for the population as a whole…..or certainly for those who want advice and should be obtaining it.

I’m not saying these people and organisations shouldn’t be exposed because I think they should, but I am concerned that if the only things that come out of the Royal Commission are some sensationalized headlines and even more regulation, then I think we have missed an opportunity. An opportunity to make real change, make a tangible difference, change the culture of corporate greed (and not just in the finance industry!). Changes have to be made, but they have to be beneficial for all concerned.

If the outcome of this RC is just more red tape then no one wins from that; it becomes harder to provide quality advice, consumers possibly have to pay more, resulting in fewer people seeking advice…..and the real downside is…..those who want to do the wrong thing (by providing poor advice) will still find a way to do it!

I just hope those who are entrusted to oversee the changes that will inevitably occur, have a fair degree of common sense. A trait, that unfortunately seems to be lacking at times these days.

Thanks for tolerating my little rant.


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