CBA private banking boss Marianne Perkovic has been accused of making a statement to the royal commission that provides a misleading overview of the bank’s financial adviser numbers.
Ms Perkovic – who is the executive general manager of Commonwealth Private and the former EGM of the CBA wealth management business – is currently undergoing intense cross examination at the royal commission hearings in Melbourne over the stated adviser and client numbers at Commonwealth Financial Planning.
The bank executive gave evidence that the number of Commonwealth FP advisers has decreased 25 per cent since 2008, while the number of clients has increased by 100 per cent.
However, counsel assisting Michael Hodge QC took umbrage with the bank’s non-disclosure of the fact that a number of those Commonwealth FP advisers were in fact phone-based advisers rather than full service authorised representatives.
“Does that mean these figures are not deliberately but slightly misleading?” Mr Hodge asked.
Mr Hodge also questioned whether the quality of advice would invariably decrease by way of the widening gap between adviser and client numbers, asking Ms Perkovic whether this was “concerning”.
He pointed to an ASIC report that has expressed concern about financial services entity taking on more clients that they can appropriately service.
Ms Perkovic responded that the bank has increased the number of paraplanning staff, which is a “good thing” in that clients will have a greater number of individuals assessing their advice.
Asked whether it was concerning that paraplanners had lower levels of education and training than financial advisers, Ms Perkovic responded that the bank requires paraplanners to have the same qualifications as advisers, even though they are not authorised to provide advice.
Follow the royal commission financial advice hearings live at https://www.ifa.com.au/strategy/25404-royal-commission-financial-advice-hearings-live-blog
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