The Royal Commission continues to expose the poor conduct occurring in the banking and finance industry and we’re glad the Commission is giving a voice to those impacted.
Though it is worth noting the role of the Commission is to expose misconduct and as such, no time has been allocated to the stories of the many satisfied customers or the life changing impact of great advice.
When we recently wrote to our clients about the Royal Commission we were pleased but not surprised when many took the time to write back conveying their deep trust in our advisers. You can read more about clients' personal experiences with our team here.
It was heartening for our whole team to receive such positive feedback and we have since been reflecting on why the big players got it wrong, and what makes us different. It’s unlikely the big bank staff are inherently bad people, but perhaps it is too easy to become inwardly-focused in a large organisation and lose sight of what’s important; close client relationships.
Investing in a values-based approach
Over the last 15 years we’ve worked hard to build a values-based approach to advice that offers our clients personalised financial planning at every stage of life; the sort of advice that can only be delivered within the context of close client relationships. We have to know our clients’ personal goals to help them succeed and we need to understand their fears to help them protect their family through change and uncertainty. Circumstances change, good advisers adapt plans and clients get positive outcomes and stay in control of their financial destiny. That’s the power of a good plan and a strong partnership with your adviser.
The two key reasons this approach works are:
1. Our retention of high-quality financial advisers:
A partnership delivers when you have an adviser who knew when you were building your career and your kids were young, and is still there for you into retirement and beyond. Clients often talk about the peace of mind it gives them as life changes. Our advisers stay with FMD for the long-term because they aren't just employees, most are also shareholders in the FMD business and we encourage and support this in a number of ways.
2. Transparency in all that we do:
Over the journey, we've remained committed to an open and transparent fee-for-service model, but transparency is also about encouraging independent oversight. To that end, we have an Independent Director and Company Secretary to test and challenge us. We operate two client advisory boards - one for working-age clients and one for retirees - to keep us close to client needs and to continuously improve our service offering. We also have an independent research house and an independent voting member on our Investment Committee (IC) supporting the Active Management Service (AMS)
We are acutely aware of the responsibility that comes with advising clients about their finances and strive to deliver high-quality, personal advice with transparent fees and services. We sincerely hope we have met and continue to meet client and community expectations, but should you have any questions about how FMD operates and why our approach is different, I would encourage you to contact any of our advisers, or me directly.