I’ve worked in the financial industry for nearly 30 years and I welcomed the Royal Commission. I thought we needed it to draw a line in the sand – only by understanding the past could we get true reform across this industry.
But initially I didn’t realise the severity of the outcomes that came out of the Royal Commission. I was in denial – I continued to put on a brave face. As time went on, we started to hear client stories that were truly heartbreaking. It affected me a lot and made me question whether this industry was right for me. So I made changes in my own life to leave the industry. I toyed with the idea of buying a food truck – I’m passionate about vegan food. But I really had no idea what I would do, and I felt that a 30-year career was a big thing to throw away.
I spoke to people I respect in the industry and they helped me work through my concerns. After a lot of soul searching, I realised that I still had a lot to offer both clients and advisors. Many advisors told me about the impact my role had in helping them understand their obligations from a legislative and regulatory perspective and this reminded me that we’re all here to do the best by our clients.
Then the opportunity came to join Viridian Advisory and it gave me a renewed faith in the industry. I have a lot of respect for the advisors in our business, and helping them achieve excellent outcomes for their clients is what gets me out of bed every day.
I don’t think it was fair that the Royal Commission had the negative impact it did on the entire industry. All the good advisors in the industry were being tarred with the same brush. Some became nervous about being targeted for not meeting legislative and regulatory requirements.
My role is important in empowering advisors to deliver the best outcomes for their clients. The regulator expects us to conduct rigorous research and reporting, and our advisors must know their product – they must also undergo continuing professional development. They must be up to date when the government releases its annual budget, as this can have major impacts on a client’s existing strategy.
There’s a lot of change happening at the moment. It’s been well covered by the media – banks selling off their wealth management divisions and scaling back on their advice businesses. This has left a lot of advisors at a loss and many good people questioning their future role in the industry. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out over the next five years, but I know that the work that me and my colleagues do to ensure we’re doing the best by our clients gives us some resilience to face the future with confidence.
Leah Deshon is a POD Development Manager at Viridian Advisory
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