The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released research which it says shows Australians believe financial advisers can offer significant expertise in financial matters, yet they remain distrustful of using them.
The research, released today, showed that while 41 per cent of Australians intend to get personal financial advice in the future, many will not proceed because of perceived barriers such as distrust, high cost and the perception that financial advice is only for the wealthy.
The research found that 27 per cent of Australians had received financial advice in the past, and 12 per cent of Australians received advice in the past 12 months.
It also highlighted that a significant majority of consumers sought financial advice because they felt advisers had expertise in financial matters and could recommend products that they, as consumers, could not normally find on their own.
Commenting on the research, ASIC commissioner, Danielle Press said that the good news for the industry was that consumers wo had recently received financial advice had more positive attitudes towards financial advisers than those who had not.
“The good news for industry is that consumers who had recently received financial advice had more positive attitudes towards financial advisers than those who had not. Moreover, even limited knowledge of industry reforms such as FOFA (Future of Financial Advice) appears to have improved consumer attitudes towards the sector. So, it is even more important for industry to get on board with the reforms.”
‘Although not all Australians need financial advice, it is imperative that people wanting advice when making critical financial decisions are able to access high quality advice and equally, feel confident that the advice is in their best interests,’ Press said.
The research found that consumers generally seek financial advice for investments such as shares and managed funds, retirement income planning, growing their superannuation and budgeting or cash flow management. Interestingly, it highlighted that use of digital advice (also known as robo-advice) is still very low (one per cent). However, 19 per cent of research participants said they were open to getting digital advice once it was explained to them.
‘Financial advisers have an important role to play in helping consumers improve their financial position, and there is a real opportunity for the advice industry to rebuild that trust by reorienting itself and putting consumers at the heart of its services,’ Press said.