A Hong Kong-based banker has applauded Australia for shedding light on issues within its financial sector and warned that the issues revealed by the royal commission are widespread across the globe.
CFA Institute managing director, Asia Pacific, Nick Pollard has held a number of senior banking roles, including the MD of exclusive British bank Coutts and CEO of Coutts Asia.
Speaking to Investor Daily, Mr Pollard said that while the major banks in Australia have shown a clear interest to be rid of their troubled wealth businesses, the fact remains that people need wealth management and financial advice.
“The challenge for Australia, which is the challenge the rest of the world has, is how do you ensure the demands of the customers are able to be met by organisations that can provide that advice in a fair and transparent way?
“The industry as a whole hasn’t been very good at that over the last few years. That’s why regulators have become involved and it has become tougher to operate in this climate.”
While the Hayne royal commission has cast a shadow over the Australian financial services sector over the past 12 months, Mr Pollard believes the conversations that are now being had off the back of the inquiry reflect a positive approach that other markets are yet to benefit from.
“What Australia is doing, which many countries aren’t, is bringing this out into the public domain and having those critical conversations and hopefully can look forward with some optimism that the industry is owning up to the fact that it need to improve and needs to do something about it,” he said.
“In many ways, the issues that are coming out of the royal commission don’t just apply to Australia. Don’t think that the rest of the world has got these things right. If there is any kind of introspection by those in the financial services communities of Hong Kong and Singapore it is ‘Where do we stand on these issues?’
“At least Australia has been bold enough to being this out into the public domain.”
According to global research consultants Cerulli Associates, Australia remains an attractive market for investment managers and asset consultants, both local and global.
While the royal commission has caused significant reputational damage, Cerulli Associated managing director for Asia, Ken Yap, said super funds in particular will still need to make exactly the same decisions about asset allocation, currency hedging, and liquidity as they always did, and nothing in the royal commission is likely to make them choose any different underlying managers than they have done in the past.