What is advice?
Advice isn’t information.
Information is a cog within an advice framework, much like cogs within a watch. Technically, it’s crucial to understand the performance of each cog, but by itself, information can add to the confusion of the advisee who lacks the experience and knowledge to understand the role of each cog.
Advice isn’t news.
News is a closer cousin to information than advice. Marketing departments of product producers and media regularly camouflage product information as news. Politicians’ advice is usually more aimed at creating news headlines to advance and influence opinion polls or their political factions than it is to provide valuable advice.
Advice isn’t an opinion or a tip.
Opinion is not based upon the best interests of advisees but on the assumptions of providers. While Oprah’s opinion might be insightful, relevant and reasoned, it assumes the interests of her followers. Opinion adds to the information surrounding advice decisions.
Advice isn’t a warning, instruction, slogan, formula or recipe.
Warnings, instructions, slogans, formulas and recipes are essential for us to live safely, compliantly and efficiently. They are more similar to regulations than they are to advice as they provide guidelines and shortcuts when compliance or efficiency is required to ensure things like safe plane take-offs, enjoyable jam tarts, COVID-19 contact tracing or smooth peak hour traffic flows. They are prescriptive steps built for broad interests rather than an advisee’s specific best interests.
Advice isn’t a goal.
Aspirations and goals assist the advice process. They serve as motivation when advice is hard to implement and progress is tough. They serve as benchmarks for advisers and advisees to measure the effectiveness of advice while also articulating the value that advisees seek from advice. For all this, they are not advice, but measures of expected progress due to advice.
Advice isn’t love.
Advice is built not upon love, but respect.
Advice to or from those we love or care about should not be considered objective advice. Love intertwines the best interests of the adviser and advisee, causing compromise. Love compromises the adviser’s objectivity and to a lesser extent, the advisee’s responsibility. Advice has conditions attached, love is unconditional.
What is Advice.
Advice is counsel. It is recommendations. It is wisdom. It is relationships.
It is built upon the best interests of the advisee without any real or perceived vested interests of the adviser.
It makes an impact by changing paradigms, accelerating progress, and managing real or perceived obstacles.
Unfortunately, the majority of Australians don’t have the opportunity to experience the impact of advice.
Advice is a product?
Australia’s Corporations Act 2001 (Section 766b sub-clause 3) defines a financial advice connection and a financial product connection as being one and the same. That is, as the law currently stands, advice is legally considered just another product.
The Corporations Act Chapter 7 (Financial Services) is wrong.
It remains stuck in the last century’s product-based origins of financial services.
Worse still, the Act is damaging the financial lives of the majority of Australians it is meant to be serving. Its product-based definitions impede the delivery of valuable financial advice to Australians who deserve better from a superannuation system they are forced into.
The solution is not making financial product advice more affordable for more Australians. It is making financial advice more valuable for more Australians.
Making cheap financial advice a priority over valuable financial advice will guarantee ongoing returns to the product providers with no similar guarantees for the purchasers for whom they are meant to be serving.
It’s unfair. Corporations Act Chapter 7 needs rewriting to separate advice from products.
Advice isn’t a product.
What do you reckon?
ABOUT JIM STACKPOOL
For over 30 years, Jim has influenced, coached, and consulted advisory firms across Australia. His firm, Certainty Advice Group coaches, trains and is building a growing group of advisory firms delivering comprehensive, unconflicted advice, priced on value. The community of advisory firms aligns with Australia’s highest and only ACCC/IP Australia Certification Mark standard of comprehensive, unconflicted advice – Certainty Advice. He has authored three books regarding financial advisory firms and is due to release his fourth book in Spring this year – What Price Value.