The deeper I go into my analysis of how trust is repaired for an industry, the more concerned I become at the deep-seated nature of the problem that needs to be fixed.
While we are all gasping at the findings of the Royal Commission, and our industry enters a shocked and silent limbo, I know more business leaders are thinking of the job ahead post Commission.
Unfortunately, there have been systemic cultural issues in many parts of financial services organisations that have fostered a culture of self-interest over ethical considerations.
That’s a fact and there is simply no denying it. Many of my colleagues that run major organisations have expressed their surprise and dismay over how deeply-rooted the issues are.
So for those of us who have acted with integrity (which I firmly believe outweigh those who have not) how do we go about building faith in the public again after this betrayal?
Because that’s what it is. Yes, it’s disappointing, but it’s so much more than that. Trust has been broken for some vital parts of the financial landscape - in particular financial advice and corporate structures that have led to selling product before the needs of the people.
Not only is it disappointing, at its very core it is a betrayal to the public of a colossal nature - when someone works hard for retirement savings and poor advice is given, or the wrong solution recommended because it works in favour of the company giving it, then people are betrayed.
Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University, Sanford Goldberg, says that trust is a reliance people put on others and if broken can lead to serious issues of betrayal. Meaning the very nature of trust is emotional, not simply rational or factual. And repairing emotional betrayal can be difficult at an individual level - and near impossible for an entire community.
For institutions, in many cases the people who created a culture of self-interest are long retired, leaving the leaders of now holding a bag full of holes to patch. This will take time and a systematic cleaning-out of the old guard and an entire restructure to reflect the principles and ethics needed to repair betrayal at a corporate level. That’s a 20-year journey ahead of us.
For financial advisers at the coal face, you are going to have to start to repair this betrayal - that quite possibly had nothing to do with you - immediately. As soon as the findings come out in February 2019, those left who want to continue in business need to be on the front foot.
Three things you can do instantly are:
I’ll be writing more on this over the coming months, and No More Practice Education will be talking to many of you and sharing your stories on what’s working for you. We are with you.
Until next time,
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