Submissions highlighted a range of concerns about the conduct of major banks or other large financial services entities as well as conduct by smaller financial planning or advice services. Over 300 different financial services entities were mentioned in the 1,139 submissions received.
Prior to the public hearings in relation to financial advice, the Commission received information from regulators and external dispute resolution bodies in relation to their experiences in dealing with the financial advice industry.
Submissions received by the Commission raised concerns about the type and extent of fees charged for financial advice. Many were charged fees despite never having met or spoken with a financial adviser, or were unable to identify what service was provided for the fee. Many wrote in frustration and shock that they discovered they had been charged ‘fees for no service’ for many years.
Of particular note were submissions recording the impact of poor financial advice on individuals, especially for older Australians relying on advice to support retirement plans. Many wrote about the financial hardship they experienced and a sense that they had misplaced trust in advisers who claimed to be experts and said they would act in the client’s best interest.
Others spoke about the lack of transparency around the role of financial advisers and their remuneration, as well as concerns that advisers recommended in-house or commissioned products without proper consideration of a client’s personal circumstances.