Clients kicking ‘own goals’ using Adviser’s tools

Own goals in football are nightmares for footballers.

Own goals in financial services however are rarely noticed.

An own goal in football occurs due misjudgement, misfortune or freak incident when a player accidentally kicks the ball into their own net creating a goal for the opposing team.

While some own goals in financial services might be caused by misjudgement, misfortune or freak incident, most are caused by clients confused which net they should be playing towards.

Despite at least seven significant inquiries into financial services over the last twelve years, Australia’s superannuation funds grow towards approximately $5T by 2030 with little doubt the product providers have been massive benefactors. Over the same time, many Australians seeking advice can’t afford the fees being charged thanks to regulatory attempts to improve the delivery of advice which so far has increased compliance and reduced the number of financial advisers in the industry.

Each of these inquiries have failed to correct a simple untruth causing clients to consistently score own goals for the product provider team rather than themselves.


The untruth that financial tools are financial goals.

Due last century’s product origins of the massive financial gatekeepers, made up by the banks, insurance groups, industry superannuation funds, their obvious and understandable intent is to steer their clients on goals that keeps them focussed on their products.

This entraps clients into believing that the actual products provided contain the goals for better financial lives.

This had led to the common criteria used in financial product conversations today which focus on the fees of funds, or the returns on funds, or features specific asset allocation of funds, or honeymoon period for loans or selections between fixed and variable interests rates. While important, these are attributes of the financial tools they sell.

Like drugs supplied by a pharmacist, they are not goals, but tools to help achieve client’s health goals.

Similar to the surgeon’s scalpel, the chef’s fresh produce, the teacher’s library, the artist’s materials, the farmer’s land, and even the barista’s coffee beans. For the majority of Australians, the attributes of the tools are nowhere near as valuable to them as the goals they hope the tools might help them achieve.


In our financial lives the goals we seek have more to do with the hopes we have for our families, for our retirements, for our careers, for our health, or as we navigate through difficult financial times. The attributes of relevant financial tools are important, but not as important as the goals that belong to us and us alone.

Making the goals of the financial tools the primary focus (e.g. buy cheap fee superannuation funds) continues the status quo where the client is guaranteeing that providers will achieve their product targets without similar guarantees for clients who are funding the whole game.

Not matter how great a specific product attribute might be such as low interests rates, or high returns, or low fees, these attributes alone provide less impact on a client’s ability to achieve their hopes than impartial and on-going management of the perennial changes in client’s situations, circumstances, and behaviours that affect their financial lives or changes to regulations, markets, technology, social and product trends that are alter the financial marketplace on almost a daily basis.

As much-needed advances are being made in last century’s debates about climate, about gender-equality, about indigenous policy, about the environment, about tech-dominance, about racial-equality, most Australians are still far too content to pursue financial lives led by the goals provided by the incumbent gate-keepers of our finances.

The untruth that the financial tools contain our goals should have been in the last century. We must advance the debate and the industry by total separation of financial advice from financial products and the goals of each.

The financial tools, products and their features are important factors in our financial decisions.

The purpose of these tools is to help us score the goals important to each of us – our goals, no-one else’s.

What do you reckon?




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