CBA looks to set industry standard

CBA executive general manager, advice, Marianne Perkovic is hopeful other institutions will follow the bank’s lead by mandating additional adviser education standards.

The Commonwealth Bank announced a range of new compulsory education requirements for salaried advisers on Friday, including the Certified Financial Planner designation for existing senior financial planners amid a raft of changes at the bank’s financial advice arm.

Speaking to ifa yesterday, Ms Perkovic said she hopes the move will not only raise professional standards in the bank’s advice channels, but also across the financial planning industry.

“We started a process with the salaried planners because that’s where we have the control and can set the standard,” Ms Perkovic said.

“As a business and as an industry we’ve talked about increasing professional standards across the board… It’s a really good step forward for the industry and I hope others will follow. It is just one step, but it’s one step for the industry moving forward.”

The bank has decided to be “proactive” when it comes to advice standards rather than waiting for the findings of the Financial System Inquiry or the newly announced Senate inquiry into education standards, she said.

“If we really believe in what the educational standards should be, we should just go ahead and make it happen versus waiting longer for what will come out of a report,” said Ms Perkovic.

CBA is also mandating industry association membership for all of its advisers – including authorised representatives licensed under Financial Wisdom.

Ms Perkovic said the bank will be paying the full cost of the new educational requirements, including the annual cost of the FPA’s CFP course.

“The fair thing for us, given that we have improved and enhanced the [educational] standards, is to actually fund our existing people for the opportunity to meet the standard,” she said.

Ms Perkovic was unconcerned about the prospect of advisers jumping ship to a firm with lower educational requirements.

“I don’t know whether you would lose somebody for making an investment into their education and qualification,” she said.

“It’s been positively received by the business, and I think it would be disappointing to lose someone if they don’t want the investment the bank’s going to make into them to enhance their educational requirements.”

 

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