I had my own brush with Queen Elizabeth II.
It was 1986, and I was running late for a meeting in Sydney.
I somehow did not notice a barricade intended to block south bound traffic coming off the Cahill Expressway and heading down Macquarie Street.
As I drove unwittingly along, I thought it peculiar the number of people gathered along the footpaths on each side of the road.
My brain started asking me lots of interesting questions. The most pressing being what was a policeman doing, running directly at me with outstretched hands, an angry-looking face and yelling STOP.
I then noticed a cavalcade, escorted by the flashing lights of police motorcycles, coming towards me.
Then, the Queen and Prince Philip passed slowly and closely in a magnificent black Rolls Royce with a little flag on the bonnet.
They looked quite animated, chatting to each other and waving.
I caught her glance and then a smile.
I started waving too.
Another couple of policemen were now surrounding my vehicle, blocking any more of my idiotic moves.
After lots of questions, a review of my licence, and a pretty good berating, they realised I was just an idiot that missed a barricade.
They let me go.
I will never forget that moment.
We will never forget that Queen.
Particularly her leadership.
Fame is easily confused with leadership.
Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and even members of the Queen’s extended family are all famous leaders.
Her leadership was something different.
Queen Elizabeth II was a lady driven to uphold a duty she felt so entrusted to her that it transcended her own personal ambitions and opinions.
As early as her 21st birthday before her ascension to the Crown, she made the extraordinary dedication of a life’s service to “her great imperial family” up until her death last week.
The evidence of her leadership is clear since her death.
The outpouring of feelings demonstrates the strength of the bonds she created for so many lives who relied upon her for something greater to align their own daily issues and lives.
Such is good leadership.
A couple of past political Australian leaders were in the media last week.
Paul Keating and union stalwart Bill Kelty were interviewed by the AFR as it is the 30th anniversary since the creation of the compulsory superannuation, which in turn ignited the momentum and creation of today’s financial planning and advice industry.
Keating said that his and Kelty’s only chance to introduce a massive change like the compulsory superannuation meant that it had to be driven by a strong, respected and crusading-type authority.
No matter how good the facts, the arguments and mindsets for a possible generational change aiming to serve the broadest best interests, without a respected authority, they don’t believe they would have cleared the hurdles for their change from opposing unions, politicians, employer groups and Australians.
Such is good leadership.
Today in financial services, we are in yet another debate confusing financial leadership and financial products.
Michelle Levy’s Quality of Advice Review is the latest attempt to provide ‘good advice’ to more Australians by making it more accessible and affordable.
The headlines are appealing.
However, the terms of reference seem to be more a Cost of Advice Review than a Quality of Advice Review.
It is true that the cost of delivering financial product advice has become unwieldy in Australia.
I’ve alluded before that there must be a set of ‘over-the-counter’ products for ‘over-the-counter’ situations, to allow for the safe, transparent and competitive marketplace to develop for the purchase of ‘advice products’ with better pricing and accessibility than today’s gridlocked product marketplace.
The majority of financial advisers, however, don’t get up every day to sell financial advice products.
Financial advice is leadership, not product distribution.
The basis of financial advice is built upon the engagement of a strong, respected and sometimes crusading leader to assist their clients to lead their best possible financial lives.
The basis of financial product advice is not leadership.
Financial product advice is built upon the manufacturing, distribution, packaging and support of quality products, not unlike the range of fast-moving goods provided by Wesfarmers and Woolworths.
Building ‘good’ financial advice upon a foundation of being cheap and accessible rather than valuable and without incentives is as dangerous and misleading as comparing Queen Elizabeth’s leadership to Donald Trump’s leadership – someone who is a populist product of the times built to ignite a minority with nostalgia for past eras of entitlement.
Queen Elizabeth II was a leader of a generation, defined by her sense of greater duty for the good of her whole imperial family rather than her own sense of self.
She was an extraordinary model of admired and needed leadership
The type of leader future generations of Australians need to lead their own best financial lives.
What do you reckon?
Photo credit: instagram_surfsbadly_220911-1805
ABOUT JIM STACKPOOL
For over 30 years, Jim has influenced, coached, and consulted advisory firms across Australia. His consulting firm, Certainty Advice Group, coaches, trains, and builds advisory firms delivering comprehensive, unconflicted advice, with fees priced purely on value. He is growing a strong and collaborative community of advisory firms aligned on Australia’s only Certification Mark advice standard for comprehensive, unconflicted advice – Certainty Advice. He has authored four books regarding financial advice, with his latest – What Price Value – available now since release in March 2022.