It is frustrating to see so much energy expended on trying to argue what should be, so clearly, an indefensible position: that commissions are such an essential part of the provision of professional financial advice that their removal would destroy the value, rational and delivery of advice itself.
Advocis’s Consumer Voice Survey 2015, “Investor Insights on the Financial Advice Industry” makes some bold statements about the risks to the provision of advice in the event of a ban on commissions and reports on what I believe to be a heavily biased survey of “consumer views” on the value of advice, conflicts of interest and the impact of commissions on financial advice. I will delve further into this report in a subsequent post.
I was happy to attend the Capital Markets Institute’s discussion on disclosure at Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. But some 3 and a 1/2 hours after the start, the panellists had still not answered the headline topic of discussion: “Does disclosure help investors make optimal investment decisions?”
Outside of the academic presentations by Sunita Sah and an interesting but jocular presentation on behavioural issues affecting choice, focus seemed to be almost entirely on documentation underpinning investment details, costs and performance, i.e. the disclosure of detail.
We are moving from a dysfunctional, low tech, high cost past, to a more sophisticated, accountable, well structured future with better differentiation of service and pricing options. The clamour over the “advice gap” is self interested, myopic and deliberately misinforming.