Image problems face banks as they swoop on financial planners

The banks are snapping up advisors in Australia, could this be coming to Canada?

by Paul Lucas

Day-to-day proceedings in Australia may not have a huge influence on what happens in Canada, but some notable movements by banks Down Under have made independent financial advisors over here sit up and take notice. However, banks will need to improve their image if they are to have an impact on the Canadian market, according to one leading expert.

During the first quarter of the New Year, banks and other large financial institutions in Australia have been making consistent efforts to increase their market share of financial planners.

According to a report by Hays, a recruitment firm, the market is ‘increasingly candidate short’ as the banks make moves for financial professionals. This has meant that certified financial planners are in high demand as businesses look for candidates with appropriate qualifications.

Sean Harrell, financial security advisor and investment representative at Trilogy Wealth Management believes that the movements in Australia may be a pre-cursor to similar events in Canada.

“I’m not sure that this is happening in Canada yet but it seems like it would make sense for the banks to look into increasing their share of the independent advisors market,” he said.

However, Harrell does not believe that the banks moving for independent financial advisors will be a threat to established businesses – at least not until the banks are able to change the image of their financial advisors.

“The banks have an oligopoly in Canada in banking and lending and post new record breaking earnings on almost a yearly basis but the one thing that I think they are missing at the branch level is providing a truly personalized experience to people looking for individual planning,” he said.

“The most common complaint I hear from people dealing at the branch level is that bank advisors are transient. As soon as you get to know an advisor they move on and the client is forced to get to know another advisor. The clients get tired of telling their story over and over again. This is how we gain a lot of our new business on an ongoing basis.  

“Our clients know we are by their side for the long haul. The banks are likely starting to notice this business move to independent advisors and want to come up with a plan to put a stop to it. I personally don’t see it as a threat to our business but if the banks can address the public’s perception that their advisors are transient, independent advisors as a whole will have to ramp up their value proposition in order to keep winning these clients from the banks.”