A report released by the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (Finsia) shows that developing close professional relationships is key to the the fair treatment of financial services customers.


The report highlights a number of areas where improvements could be made to improve customers’ perceptions of fairness and trustworthiness of their financial services providers.


“Australians are increasingly aware of the need to better manage their money and receiving fair treatment from their credit card providers, bank and financial advisers not only makes sound business sense but will increase the level of confidence in the industry as a whole,” Finsia’s chief executive Russell Thomas said.


The study was undertaken by Monash University’s Professor Steve Worthington and James Devlin, Professor of Financial Decision Making, Nottingham University and Director, Financial Services Research Forum.


 “The results indicate that those financial service providers able to develop professional relationships with customers over a period of time have a distinct advantage over others in positively influencing their perceptions of fairness,
said Professor Worthington.


“Overall financial advisers did well compared with their bank and credit card counterparts.  This was not surprising given the opportunities they have to build personal relationships with their clients.


“Interestingly, banks suffered significant decreases in perceptions of fairness as customer relationships lengthened.  Customers did not perceive that long relationships with their banks led to improved treatment.”


The research included an online poll of 750 customers of the financial services industry.