Please stop marketing
Round two hearings of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry finished up today. By all accounts, advisers and the media alike, have been surprised at what's been unearthed. And the public, horrified.
It's not the kind of publicity the financial advice industry wants.
As a result, you're probably going to hear a whole lot of, "How financial planners can rebuild trust and reputations in a post Royal Commission world", type opinion pieces over the coming weeks. They're going to come from the experts, the associations and advisers themselves.
Spoiler alert. This is one of them.
But this isn't about writing to your clients and reinforcing the good work you do.
It's not about posting to social media about how trustworthy and ethical you are.
It's not about lobbying the industry associations to do more to promote the positive side of the industry.
And it's not about pointing fingers or calling for investigations into other sections of the industry.
This is about putting other people first.
It's about asking what they need to hear right now, feel right now and see right now.
And I'm certain it's not a whole lot of financial advisers saying how awesome they are.
I understand the instinctive desire to protect your lot, but I think advisers need to think carefully about how that response might be perceived.
You know what I reckon people want to hear? What they need to hear?
An unreserved apology.
Sincere regret and real empathy for victims and their families.
Whether you think you were part of the problem or not.
A sorry to the people who had bad experiences, who were treated poorly, who lost money, lifestyles and trust.
A sorry for the industry's repeated mistakes, for being slow to react, for not speaking up.
And a sorry without the, "but she had a degree" or "he was fee for service"; without the, "they were never going to retire comfortably anyway"; and without the, "the industry funds got off easy" passing of blame.
I'm a marketer.
The answer to the industry's problems right now, isn't marketing.
It's a different kind of action.
Less time promoting what you care about. More time changing behaviour and structures, and meeting the community's expectations. And that includes considering the perspectives of all those people who need advice but aren't getting it.
More time being who the people you're trying to help, want you to be.
It's not too late to say sorry.
To be sorry.
To do sorry.
What do you think?