John Cameron's personal blog

Serious discussion about your financial position now - and in the future.

Culture – From Boring To Buzzword In No Time

The last couple of weeks have seen more skirmishes in the “culture wars”. 

The first shots were fired by a Four Corners Programme that disclosed that the Commonwealth Bank’s insurance subsidiary, Comminsure, had used dodgy methods to avoid paying claims. A poor culture within Comminsure was quickly blamed.

The issues have been smouldering for years, but now that full scale conflict has broken out, it looks like being a protracted campaign. No doubt there will be moments of tension, drama, high farce and even, yes, humour (in fact a sense of humour may be an essential survival mechanism).

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The Culture Of Banks?????

Last week was a bad week for the banks so far as publicity goes.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull gave the banks a genteel tongue lashing (they hadn’t always acted in their customers’ best interests, he said) at a lunch called to celebrate Westpac’s 99th birthday. 

A birthday party may not be the usual place for a VIP guest to give his hosts a jolly good talking to, but the PM’s words were soon followed by a chorus of politicians calling for a Royal Commission into the Banks. Motives undoubtedly varied from the purely political to the more principled. However, nobody has yet spelt out what they want any Royal Commission to enquire into and there hardly seems any point in having a Royal Commission just for the sake of it. The Government, for its part has replied that ASIC already has Royal Commission like powers, and presumably could be relied on to use these powers if they thought it was necessary.

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Is Your Financial Planner Putting You In A Box??

Unfortunately, much of what passes for financial advice today, amounts to little more than a box-ticking exercise.

For many of the bigger institutional advisor groups, the process goes something like this:

• Fill out a risk profiling questionnaire, and go into a risk profile box. Tick

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What Is A Financial Planner’s Role??

Just what does a Financial Planner do?

Coming up with a suitable strategy and recommending suitable investments is an obvious job, and is the one that attracts the most public attention.

However, another job that can be just as important, is helping clients make better financial decisions. Your financial planner should be able to engage with you on a range of issues, help you clarify the different options that are available to you in a given situation, and choose between the alternatives.

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Later this year Britain will vote on whether to stay in the EU, or leave. This is an excellent account of the pros and cons.

Should they stay or should they go?

Oliver Hartwich | The New Zealand Initiative | 17 March 2016

I wrote recently about the political implications of the UK's forthcoming referendum on EU membership. Let's take a closer look at what the British are voting on, and why your columnist is not sure what to wish for.

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