Cuffe slams bank financial planners

Former Colonial First State CEO Chris Cuffe has slammed the major banks' financial planning practices claiming that wealthier clients don't go to banks for financial planning and questioning banks' expertise in this area.

Cuffe, now acting CEO of Challenger International, admitted that banks have big brand names but claimed they've adopted a mass-production approach to financial planning which results in “shrink-wrapped” advice “run off a production line”.

By concentrating on cost and risk, the banks' attention to growth and service has suffered, Cuffe said. The “sausage machine” sale gives the investor a “fairly ordinary experience” at times. Cuffe claimed this approach by the banks is dragging down the financial planning industry's name.

Australian Bankers' Association CEO David Bell questioned Mr Cuffe's motives, stating he's now in direct competition with banks, so his comments came as no surprise. The Financial Planning Association echoed the ABA's view, as it also announced the formation of a taskforce to look into disclosure, advice, consumer issues, professionalism and transition to the Financial Services Reform Act.