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Confusion with Financial Planner independence continues

Source: Roy Morgan Research Consumer Single Source; July 2009 – June 2014, n = 43,815
With the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) changes now in place it is necessary that Financial  Planners not only comply with the new rules regarding conflicted remuneration and the need to act in the best interests of their clients but that the clients also know the status of the Financial Planner regarding independence. This latest research shows that considerable confusion remains among the users of financial planners regarding the extent to which the planner is perceived to be independent. These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Research Single Source survey.

The main area of confusion regarding the independence of financial planners occurs when the planner is branded differently to the major fund manager that owns the planning group. For example, 55% of the clients using Financial Wisdom (owned by the Commonwealth Bank) consider it to be independent, which is well ahead of the 14% who consider Commonwealth Bank branded planners to be independent.

Financial Planner Perceived as ‘Independent’


Source:    Roy Morgan Research Consumer Single Source; July 2009 – June 2014, n = 43,815 

The planners belonging to all the major banks and labelled as such are generally understood to be ‘tied’ rather than ‘independent’. Only 11% of Westpac financial planners’ customers considered them to be independent, compared to 12% for the NAB, 13% for the ANZ and 14% for the Commonwealth Bank.

On the other hand, three of the major banks’ own financial planning groups are largely perceived as independent by their clients. These include Godfrey Pembroke owned by NAB (considered by 50% of clients to be independent); RetireInvest owned by ANZ (37% considering it to be independent) and Count Wealth (42% considered independent) owned by CBA. AMP Group own Charter (48% considered independent) and Hillross (44% considered independent).

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, says:

“The ease of obtaining wealth products and the increase in people using the direct channel means that the Retail funds management sector will increasingly rely on their adviser network and advice to retain customers, but at the same time be acting in the best interests of their client.

“With a large proportion of advisers being owned by fund managers the need for clients to understand the extent to which their adviser is independent will become critical and should not be confused by branding.

The Roy Morgan Research ‘Image of Professions Survey, 2014’, conducted in April showed that only 28% of the population rated financial planners as either ‘very high’ or ‘high’ for ethics and honesty. There is still some way to go in explaining the lack of trust that currently exists towards the profession.”

Roy Morgan Research has an extensive range of Australian Banking and Finance Reports and Profiles including our Superannuation and Wealth Management in Australia Report, Superannuation Satisfaction Report and Superannuation Obtainment Channel Profiles.

For comments or more information please contact:

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director
Telephone:  +61 (3) 9224 5172
Mobile:  +61 402 014 474

About Roy Morgan Consumer Single Source

Roy Morgan Single Source is based on over 50,000 interviews each year and has been designed and engineered to represent the ideal source model. It provides an integrated understanding of consumers; what they are like, what they consume, what they buy, what they think, what they want, what they watch, read and listen to. The overriding benefit of Roy Morgan Single Source is the strategic insights it offers in the ability to link many aspects. Not only can an organisation’s profitable customers be delineated by what they think, do, watch, but so can non customers. Hence brand positioning, product differentiation, merchandising, efficient media planning, market expansion and line extension opportunities can all be considered in the light of the correct understanding of the marketplace.

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers. In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate



25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%