The mechanics of trust between people and between people and organisations are not a secret. There is more than 200 years of research about the psychology of it, and since the development of decent brain imaging we can actually point to the parts of the brain that the emotions of trust and revenge live in.
But that’s not the point of this article. The point of this is that the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry has shattered the broad trust that Australians have in banking and financial services. I know this because I research it.
Like you, I knew the royal commission was coming, so I organised some of the very clever young researchers in my team to design a survey to track how much Australians trusted their bank and their financial planner. The first survey occurred before the inquiry started and showed that by and large Australians trusted their banks and their planning businesses.
If I simplified the data for the purposes of this article, banks in general were an eight-out-of-10 for trust (strong trust) and Financial Advice about a six-out of-10 (mild trust).
Here’s the kicker on this. If you ask this question not about financial advice generally but instead about someone’s financial adviser specifically, the numbers leap, to nine out of 10 – very strong trust.
But those numbers have started to move. This quarter we didn’t ask about their financial planner – just about their financial advice brand – and the numbers are down. Bank brands are now running at six out of 10, and financial advice brands are down across the board.