The Financial Services Institute of Australasia's (FINSIA) latest research has highlighted consumers' lack of confidence in the professionalism of the financial services industry.
It revealed that 81% of more than 2000 survey respondents believe it is important to have a professional body overseeing industry standards. And 75% believe senior staff should have professional qualifications.
FINSIA CEO & Managing Director, Chris Whitehead said, “Consumers are telling us that the industry doesn’t need to wait for the key findings of the Royal Commission to start rebuilding trust by raising standards of professionalism in the financial services industry.”
The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry is currently holding hearings and is scheduled to submit an interim report no later than 30 September 2018, and a final report by 1 February 2019.
In rebuilding trust, FINSIA believes that the first step is to establish industry-wide standards of professional competency and conduct that apply to all individuals. Mr Whitehead added, “Consumers place more trust in the person they are dealing with than in the institution.”
“What is missing is an industry-wide code of professional conduct that focuses on individual accountability to ensure good individual conduct and competence.”
“This should provide mechanisms for independent monitoring, review, and individual discipline when provisions of the code are breached. It has to be supported by industry-wide professional competency standards."
“Beyond professional qualifications FINSIA believes a professionalisation programme to positively influence industry culture, conduct and competency is needed for industry reform and to earn trust in the minds of consumers,” said Mr Whitehead.
FINSIA’s inaugural consumer research was conducted online with over 2,000 respondents between 22 February and 1 March 2018.