NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn has passionately defended the bank's financial advice businesses, reminding stakeholders of its early adoption of fee-for-service remuneration and rising education standards.
In a speech to the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce yesterday, Mr Thorburn said that while there is “no doubt that change is required”, NAB has a strong track record in its provision of financial advice and a relatively low complaint ratio of 0.2 per cent.
"We were the first to lead with abolishing upfront commissions and moving to fee-for-service in superannuation and investments,” he said.
“We have led in education standards and through enterprise bargaining, we have moved to level commission structures for our life insurance products.
"This is going to be an ongoing, long journey that we’re committed to completing so that we do have the respect and trust of our people and of our customers."
He sought to put the recent revelation that 750 clients have received monetary compensation in context, reminding the audience that the bank has 1.7 million customers and that the 37 sacked advisers are only a small fraction of its 1,600-plus affiliated financial planners.
He also announced that he will be "accelerating" some of the recommendations of a recent review of the wealth business.
Specifically he announced that where professional misconduct is detected in the future, NAB will be “reviewing all files and writing to all customers” as well as advising ASIC of any advisers that leave the group and the “reasons why”.
The bank will also be more deeply reviewing the files associated with the 37 salaried and aligned advisers it has sacked in the past five years, he announced.
The comments follow the bank’s admission of a $10-$15 million compensation project over the past five years in which 750 clients were compensated for “situations where we didn’t get it right”.
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