With great power comes great responsibility

Originally published | 10th October 2017

Does the title sound familiar?

In 1962, the Amazing Spider-Man was introduced to the world and after gaining his powers he tried wrestling for money. His selfishness in using his power for himself saw him neglect to stop a burglar who later killed his uncle. 

So what has this got to do with Financial Planning?

I see the authorisation of being a financial planner/adviser as providing a great power in being able to help clients achieve their goals. But with that power comes responsibility and I feel lately that our industry isn’t learning from our mistakes. 

Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man) chose a different route when he made the mistake of not stopping that burglar. He learnt from his mistake and changed his behaviour. 

As a compliance professional I see the good, the bad and the ugly and I am still amazed by the advisers who get themselves into trouble and still continue with the behaviours that got them into trouble. 

How many advisers out there read the ASIC media releases to gain an understanding of what they might need to change in their practice? I would lay a bet that instead of learning from them, advisers are complaining about how difficult the Regulator is and how they are just out to “get us”.

Do you read a banning order for instance and think, “Gee that could have been me, I need to make sure I change what I do”? 

Most people wouldn’t. 

Looking at day to day practices of advisers and you can see those that don’t.  For instance, we as an industry see how ASIC is scrutinising SMSF and Property advice, yet all I see on social media is different advertisements for buying property in SMSFs. 

I am lucky in my position that I have a great team behind me who believe in constantly learning and evolving from the errors made by others. These learnings are then passed onto our advisers in the hope that they evolve as well. 

So, my question to you all, do you take the responsibility for your great power seriously?

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