CBA chief executive, Matt Comyn has made clear to a Parliamentary Committee that the bank wants to remain in the financial advice arena, despite the difficulties.
His comment came amid continuing speculation about the big banking group’s future intentions with respect to wealth management, particularly once it finally exits Colonial First State (CFS).
Giving evidence before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Comyn acknowledged the struggle the CBA was facing in staying in advice but signalled that it intended to do so.
“We've made a number of changes as a result of reviewing our strategy and where we'd like to focus as an organisation. Specifically, we've exited life insurance. We've recently sold our asset management business. We've sold or are exiting our aligned advice businesses, which are self-employed financial advice businesses,” he said.
However, he said that the bank was retaining and continuing to provide financial advice “at this stage” and “we would like to continue to do that, notwithstanding the enormous challenges in the financial advice industry”.
“We do think it's important to be able to provide that service to customers. We worry about the unavailability of effective and safe and simple financial advice to customers over time,” Comyn said.
Asked by Labor’s Andrew Leigh whether the bank could withstand the reputational costs given past advice scandals, Comyn said CBA had made a number of changes “to make sure we’re providing a high-quality and consistent level of advice.
“It certainly is a very challenged business and industry at the moment but, as I said, even though we're exiting some elements of the advice businesses in the past—our aligned advice in particular—we're committed to retaining our current financial advice proposition,” he said.