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Stronger planning rules to help customers: George

A new suite of financial planning initiatives will ensure ANZ provides more-effective advice and remediation facilities in order to better serve customers, according to ANZ wealth boss Alexis George.

Speaking to bluenotes on video from Sydney, ANZ’s Group Executive Wealth said the changes – announced amid heightened scrutiny on the sector – come after industry developments George described as “confronting”.

"We want to rebuild trust and confidence in advice.” – George

“We want to rebuild trust and confidence in advice,” she said. “I think advice is incredibly important.”

ANZ has announced it will begin kick off a suite of initiatives to improve the quality of its financial planning and customer-remediation systems. As part of the changes the bank will remove all sales incentives for planning bonuses, move to speed up remediation facilities and quickly remove providers of bad advice – alongside a new set of professional standards.

George said it was clear the bank needed to “remediate customers who have suffered from bad advice more quickly.”

“[We’ve instructed] our remediation teams to go faster and get it done by the end of this year,” she said. 

George said the bank was committed to building a profession for planning and advice, which would involve insisting our greater education standards. Planners will also now be assessed on new indicators including customer satisfaction alongside stricter risk and compliance standards.

“We need to service our customers around their financials and so we think it’s incredibly important,” she said. “Superannuation is the second-biggest asset of our customers so we have to give them good advice around that.”

“We can’t have advice that’s not in the best interests of customers and we’re absolutely committed to that.”

In December, ANZ announced the sale of its life-insurance arm to Zurich. ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott said at the time the deal – which will ultimately see ANZ retain roughly 300 financial planners – showed the bank was doing what was best for its customers.

The group previously announced the sale of its pension and investments arms and aligned dealer groups in October.

George also touched on the bank’s continued commitment to advice in the wake of those deals. You can watch the video above to find out more.

Andrew Cornell is managing editor at bluenotes

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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