Consultancy group rejects Westpac advice comments

Industry consultancy firm Certainty Advice Group has refuted comments from Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer that banks make financial advice cheaper and more thorough.

According to a statement, Mr Hartzer's comments in The Australian Financial Review on the benefits of financial advice are misleading and fail to differentiate between product advice and advice unaligned to product.

Certainty Advice Group managing director Jim Stackpool said that no bank in the financial world has successfully built an advice offering without any real or perceived product conflict.

"Banks' brands will continue to be undermined until they clarify their message about their financial advice offer," Mr Stackpool said.

"Mr Hartzer must realise sooner rather than later that their great brands will remain at risk whilst they continue to get this wrong."

FinBiz Advisers' principal, Annette Pulbrook, views Mr Hartzer's comments as an unwise brand strategy for the big banks.

"Banks have successfully confused Australians for years," she said.

"They fail to differentiate between product advice and pure advice unaligned to product.

"One day their boards will realise their brands will continue to be damaged until they revert to their true skill – being good bankers with great products."

Bravium principal Scott Farmer said banks have never made any money from financial advice.

"They only ever make money when they sell products aligned to their advice," he said. "The sooner they return to pure banking the better for everyone."

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