Glen and business partner Jessica launched Fox & Hare Financial Advice to deliver high-quality, unbiased, strategic advice that helps clients achieve their financial goals. Glen and Jessica are both in their early 30s and based in Darlinghurst, attracting a younger, more informed and inquisitive demographic – many that have turned their backs on the banks due to the ever-growing number of scandals and conflicts of interest.

Glen spoke to Urban Village about the Royal Commission and what it means for you.

You’ve probably heard whispers of the Royal Commission but wondering what it’s all about? Are you unsure what the Royal family has to do with it? Or maybe you just don’t know if it has any impact on your day to day life. Don’t stress, you’re not alone! Firstly, I can confirm that the neither the Prince or any Royal is personally involved but I’m going to break this down for you (and hopefully not bore you to death in the process).

A Royal Commission is a formal public inquiry into a defined issue. The one that’s in all the papers at the moment revolves around misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industries. The big banks have skipped from one controversy to the next over the past decade. The majority of the scandals appear to be fuelled by the banking sector promoting and rewarding a sales culture with an emphasis on profits rather than customers best interests. The driving forces behind the Royal Commission proposal were the Greens and Labor with a number of National MPs later joining rank. The government was eventually backed into corner and resistance by the PM rendered futile. The commission began in November 2017 with a final report expected February 2019.

What does this mean for you? In short, if you are customer of any of Australia’s major banks you may have been sold insurances totally inappropriate for you, lent money you can’t repay or have had loved ones pass away with the bank still charging them fees. Unfortunately, much of this misconduct has been the result of my industry peers charging their clients for the advice, with much of that “advice” consisting of purchasing financial products manufactured by the bank they work for. The focus seemed to be more on selling in-house products than providing clients with a clear and strategic game plan to further them financially.

The Royal Commission has been both shocking and disappointing for me. To think that people have been sold things they don’t need (or can’t afford) for the sake of meeting targets is clearly a culture that needs a light shone on it and some pretty decent systematic change. Whilst there are clearly more than just a few bad apples here it’s also worth considering that there are many financial services professionals who get up each and every day with the purpose of helping and serving their clients best interest.

The Royal Commission has highlighted the importance of doing your research before signing up with an advice firm. Make sure you understand who their licence is ultimately owned by and how that affects their ‘approved product list’ (this is the products they are able to recommend). Make sure they speak your language and answer all the questions you have with clear and simple explanations.

My hope is that the current dark cloud over the advice industry doesn’t prevent the younger generation from seeking advice. A good adviser can be worth their weight in gold, however, nobody should ever just follow advice blindly. Always ask for the ‘why’ behind any recommendation, in the end it’s your money, your wellbeing and your future!