Australians sceptical of advisers, IFAs to rebuild trust

More than half of Australians believe financial planners are expensive and that financial institutions are biased toward their own products, according to a recent survey by RaboDirect.

The online savings arm of Rabobank Australia also found that 39 per cent of Australians find financial planning daunting.

In addition, 22 per cent said they do not need a financial planner and can get good advice from friends and family, while 48 per cent said educational standards for advisers should be higher.

Only 14 per cent of respondents said they would speak to a financial planner or accountant to help them stick to a budget.

RaboDirect surveyed 2,500 Australians aged between 18 and 65 as part of its annual 'Financial Health Barometer'.

Speaking to ifa, RaboDirect national manager of adviser services Bede Cronin said one of the reasons Australians are cautious towards advisers could be that they have not received financial advice before.

"From my perspective, something that could be influencing that type of perception is we do have a large number of Australians who don't have direct experience in terms of working with a financial planner," he said.

"Their judgement could also be largely biased by things that they hear in the public domain. Over the course of a number of years, there have been things in the news in relation to certain issues or scandals that have occurred in the industry which are by [their] nature likely to influence people's perception."

Mr Cronin added that with low consumer trust in planners, independent financial advice can play an important role in regaining that trust.

"Independent financial advice is crucial in terms of winning the minds of consumers, particularly in the current environment when you do see those sorts of statistics that are coming through our own research and surveys," he said.

"The way it can help in rebuilding that trust is by building some positive stories that come out, particularly the value that you can get out of obtaining quality financial advice."

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