Genuine People caught in disingenuous places?

Maybe there is a beast…maybe it’s only us.”

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

What happens when genuine people are caught in a disingenuous place?

What did the people working on Manus Island caring for Australia’s unwanted refugees best do about their circumstances?

What about those working in Trump’s version of a White House?

Or those loyal workers in the Churches who try to rationalise the line-up of former leaders that not only failed but subverted those they were meant to be serving?

When perceptions of promises consistently fail to match what is delivered, cultures are questioned.


Normalised behaviours…

Disingenuous environments tend to normalise disingenuous behaviours.

For instance, there was a minority in financial services who believed their best clients were those that rarely called, rarely sought advice, rarely wanted to meet, while continuing to pay for ‘services’ every year.


No. Wrong. Very wrong.

When the industry’s limp watchdog highlighted the issue two years before Justice Hayne, the normalised behaviour had the fines for no service in the millions – $178m.

Now thanks to Justice Hayne’s Royal Commission (or more rightly Senator John Williams) the remediation is now in the billions as is the loss of market valuations for some institutions.

The industry knew behaviours were systemic, not just a few bad apples.

Lots of genuine people knew that the real power in financial relationships resided not with the person with the financial products (e.g. superannuation), but with those that supplied the products as these products just kept on gifting back to the provider year after questionable year.

How do genuine people shift this balance of power back to where it should be in every financial relationship – that is, with every client?


Little sense of value…

As William Golding’s Lord of the Flies illustrates, disingenuous places tend to falsify questions of value.

What is valued?

Keating, Kelty, and Hawke forced all Australians to save for their retirement decades ago. Unfortunately, as our own most recent white paper concludes, we don’t all value our mandatory nest eggs.

Those providing the products for our mandatory nest eggs, however, have certainly understood their value opportunities.

That’s why we have both the fourth largest pension funds in the world and also why we have Justice Hayne’s Royal Commission.

The neglected question of value has normalised us all that the agreed method of fees we pay is a proportion of how much product is being bought.

It’s ridiculous that the common charge Australians pay for ‘services’ is based upon how much product they hold rather than the value of services provided.

How do genuine people arrest that notion of value and bring it back to what everyone better understands – value for services rather than fees for the product?


People are genuine…

Disingenuous places tend to label everyone involved as being disingenuous.

Leaders claim high-ground promising ‘better futures’.

Alternatively, if unable to reconcile better value models, they seek to exit to safer reputational credentials.

The raging debate whether Australians have enough money or not, is in itself, symptomatic of the uncertainty faced.

What is clear, however, is that many genuine people, long loyal to their client’s best interests are leaving the industry in frustration. Their biggest fault is possibly trying to do too much serving every client’s best interests (the opposite of Fees for No Service findings) for too many clients using the normalised business model.

Will the proposed new qualification requirements produce more genuine professionals?

We can hope.

Will the promises of new tech-based financial solutions exchange today’s “Fee for No Service” with a “Fee for No Tech Service” report?

The issue in financial services is simple.

However, the solution is complex.

The greatest value in financial services has been consistently collected not by the receiver of services, but by the provider of services.

Genuine people genuinely serving Australians to lead their best possible financial lives are not afraid to align their promises, their value and their reward.

Let’s hope we don’t inhibit them in 2019.

Let’s hope 2019 paves a path forward for as many genuine people as possible to deliver their promises of serving clients best interests, for a price their client’s value, rather than the product manufacturers value.

Let’s stop feeding the beast within with the dogma that product is value.

Our clients always have and always will be our value.

What do you reckon?



About Jim Stackpool

For nearly 30 years Jim has influenced, coached, and consulted to advisory firms across Australia. As founder of Certainty Advice Group, he leads a like-minded team of professional advisory firms seeking to create greater certainty for their clients. As an author, blogger, columnist, and keynote speaker, Jim is regularly called upon for his professional insights into the advice industry. His latest book Seeking Certainty is available now.

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