trustIf you’re wondering what happens when you take trust for granted, you don’t have to look far past the predicament the Commonwealth Bank’ Financial Planning arm has allegedly found itself in.

Put simply, when trust is at risk… EVERYTHING is at risk!

And that’s the reality for the Commonwealth Bank – their brand is ‘at risk’… and sadly, along with them, the entire financial planning profession is now finding themselves (once again) facing an issue of ‘questionable trust’.

Now… I want to be transparent here by saying I am an advocate of professional financial advice… the key word being professional, and in this post, I don’t want to go into detail over the accusations or the specifics of what’s been going on with the Commonwealth Bank’s Financial Planning strategies… and if you’re not aware of what’s going on, just do a web-search and you’ll discover it pretty easily.

What I do want to highlight in this post is something I’ve been ‘preaching’ for some years now.

Executive Board Members are not only responsible and ought to be held accountable for the delivery of high returns on investment for their shareholders. Surely, they also have a responsibility and ought to be held accountable for the way their company develops or sources, provides and delivers their products and services in ways that ought to positively improve their clients’ lives (whether in their business life or personal life).

One strategy I would highly recommend not just for the Board and executive leadership team in the Commonwealth Bank, but for executive leadership in every organisation, is to clearly articulate what their intentions are for their clients… what they want for their clients, not just what they want for their shareholders.

Remember, the platform principle of Intentionomics is this…

People Get Your Truth! Over time, your intentions, promises, actions and results will either promote or expose you.

But of course, this is not just in financial service organisations… surely this ought to be the way for any organisation.

I’m taking a well educated guess here that the Commonwealth Bank has invested significant amounts of resources and dollars on the education and development of their leadership team… so what’s gone wrong?

I am going to put it down to a lack of clear intention (or at least a lack of understanding of the impact of mis-directed intention)!

Let’s revisit the Light Of Day Test!

Character matters, and part of an individual’s character, is their capacity to live by the light of day test. I’ve posted about this previously, and will more than likely post about it again in the future… and keep posting about it… because it really does matter.

The light of day test is this… With any decision you’re about to make or any action you’re about to take, would you make that decision or take that action, if it were held up in the light of day for all to see.

The financial planning world has legislation in place that holds financial planners accountable to act in the Best Interest of their clients.

Again, while not going into any of the accusations or findings of questionable dealings by the Commonwealth Bank’s Financial Planning operations that are currently being reported on, it’s surely a timely reminder for us all to take the importance of trust in our lives a little bit more seriously, a little bit more strategically, and certainly a little bit more operationally… because when trust is at risk, EVERYTHING is at risk.

And a final footnote for the wonderfully ethical, professional financial advisers who have always and will continue to put their clients’ best interests first and foremost as the basis for their advice, I urge you to keep your clients informed of the validity of your advice process and keep making a positive difference to those who you serve.