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News Article

Removing 50 shades of grey around financial planning

Published: 07 February 2019

Dr Julie Knutsen
Dr Julie Knutsen

Financial planners now need to consider an extra layer of ethics, corporate law and behavioural finance to remove any chance of ‘grey areas’ when acting in the best interests of their clients.

In the wake of the Financial Services Royal Commission, they also need superior analysis skills to understand, identify and discern the suitability of financial products for clients – not product sales.

That’s according to Dr Julie Knutsen (pictured right) who has spent the past 12 months updating CQUniversity’s Masters and Graduate Diploma programs in Financial Planning.

“We’ve always taught ethics but we’ve ensured plenty of ‘a ha’ moments in our new teaching materials to illuminate the issues at stake,” she says.

Dr Knutsen, who has over 30 years’ financial services experience, was also able to draw on advice from stalwarts of Australia’s financial planning industry.

“We are grooming a new generation of financial planners so we need to be able to put mature heads on young shoulders to strengthen the quality of advice for clients,” Dr Knutsen says.

“Our new focus is on re-wiring the problems associated with vagueness around ethics and an over-reliance on product sales as a form of adviser remuneration.

“We want to be part of the industry movement that is shifting from a product sales process to one where financial planner professionals know more about how to gain behavioural psychology insight into their clients, including how to unpack their needs and conduct a solid interview.

“We are now stressing the technical capacity and client relationship skills required to provide a service while ensuring advice strategies are sound and well-researched.

“We strive to deepen the understanding of where all the potential risk is for clients in a range of complex and changing circumstances.”