Is it no one?
Recent events are leading me closer to that answer.
I grew up in a world where you could trust people. You could trust institutions. If someone said they had done something, you could rely on them. You could shake hands and know you had a deal. You could look someone in the eye and have confidence that what they were saying was true.
The events of the past few months have thrown all of this into question.
It Started With a Business Dealing
My trust began eroding as I was trying to sell an asset. Someone made an offer and we shook hands on the deal. As a result, I advised the other interested party that the asset had been sold, and they understandably moved on. Then the person who made the original offer changed their mind. I was left carrying the can.
Then It Was Social Media
One of the big selling points of social media was that you rely on friends and the crowd, rather than say a journalist who has a biased view. First we saw that these “friends” and the “crowd” may have been nothing more than bot accounts pumping the network with “fake news”. Now there are questions about how private our data is, despite Zuckerberg’s assurances in the past.
Then It Was Sport
Cricket has always been the ultimate sport of gentlemen and fair play. Until the recent series between Australia and South Africa. We saw sledging, violence and then blatant cheating.
Now It’s Our Most Trusted Institutions
There was a front-page story that the NAB chief of staff was getting kickbacks (or you might call them bribes) from suppliers in return for recommending those suppliers and allowing them to overcharge for their services.
Next we can turn to the Royal Commission. It started with stories of NAB employees getting kickbacks (what is it with NAB and kickbacks?) in order to get their home loans approved. Then we heard about mortgage brokers recommending larger loans than were warranted so they could earn higher commissions. Then we heard about CBA planners charging decade long dead people for financial advice.
The most serious findings of all are that executives of AMP have deliberately lied to the regulator numerous times in order to protect themselves, their employer and no doubt their careers. The CEO of AMP was forced to resign immediately once this was revealed. So much for protecting your career…
Is There an Answer?
So what is world coming to? Can you trust social media? Can you trust financial institutions? Sporting heroes? Can you trust anyone at all? If not, what does this mean for society as we know it? And what can we do to reverse this trend?
I wish I had the answer. I don’t. In fact if I told you I had the answer then I would be lying myself. So let’s come back to the Royal Commission for a moment. Many of the findings to date are horrific. Australians have been treated unfairly. They have been ripped off. They have been lied to. The institutions have clearly put profits before their customers.
What About Financial Advice?
One of the real challenges with financial advice is that you don’t know who to trust. And that was before the Royal Commission. You can’t even rely on your friends’ recommendations because they probably don’t know how to judge a good adviser from a bad one.
At Plenty, we recognise that at this stage you probably don’t trust us any more than you trust someone who was recommended by your taxi driver. However, there are 3 important points we would like you to consider.
- Most financial advisers will charge you thousands of dollars just to get started. We offer our advice for free. If it turns out that you don’t like our advice (we would be surprised if this is the case) and choose not to take in on board, you haven’t lost anything.
- Because our advice is based off algorithms, it is 100% objective. We can point to the rules that sit behind our advice. Nowhere in those rules does Plenty’s personal benefit come into play. The thinking behind the advice provided by human advisers may not be as transparent and objective.
- If we were really trying to rip you off, we wouldn’t be providing advice for free. And we would be charging much higher fees for implementation and for consultations with a financial adviser.
So what have you got to lose? Get a free financial roadmap now and start getting on top of your finances. You might just find that Plenty is bucking the trend!
Greg is the co-founder of Plenty. He has been a financial adviser for the last 7 years. Priory to that, Greg ran the life insurance division of life insurer MLC.
The information contained on this page is of a general nature and may not be appropriate for your personal circumstances. You should obtain personal financial advice before acting on this information.