CPAs slam financial planner advice

A new survey by CPA Australia casts doubt on the independence of advice given to clients by financial planners. Most planners concentrate on selling packaged products and services from major financial institutions, CPA says, instead of giving truly independent advice.

Seventy-two per cent of the top 50 dealer groups are either wholly or partly owned by large financial institutions, CPA says. And around one-third of Australia's 16,000 financial planners operate through National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, AMP or Axa. Privately-owned financial planning dealerships have declined, says CPA's Carolyn Mooney, which raises questions about independent advice.

The majority of the top 50 dealer groups no longer describe themselves as impartial, unbiased or independent, and this is occurring at the same time as consumers are saying that independence is the single most important factor. This was established by a recent survey in which 80 per cent of respondents identified this as critical when making investment decisions.