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"Why good people do bad things" - John Berrill on the Banking Royal Commission


“Step over their own grandmothers to get to the money” - John Berrill on the Banking Royal Commission

The Banking Royal Commission continues to make headlines and our very own John Berrill has been extensively quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend article “Why good people do bad things” on 21 July by journalist, Amanda Hooton.

The quotes from Berrill are about as direct as you might read in an article of this type. Berrill notes the “macho alpha-male” personalities the banking world often attracts, and Hooton outlines numerous examples of how this plays out culturally in the banking world.

The Royal Commission has shown us time and time again that the ‘aggressive investment high-risk play book’ sits on the desk of so many financial advisers and it has hurt a lot of people and continues to do so.

Is the problem “the incentives, the bonuses, the KPIs” that are rife in the banking sector, which has created financial advisers who “step over their own mothers to get to the money?”

Berrill has seen enough “macho alpha-male bullshit” from financial advisers in the banking sector over his 30-odd years as a consumer lawyer and notes these same traits don’t play out for those in the community sector who work as productively without the continual financial incentives.

Whether the problems lie in the structure of the workplace, the culture, the leadership (or lack of) or the individuals on the shop floor, we may never know.

As Berrill acknowledges, “maybe we’re all vulnerable to some degree.” Whatever the reason, the Royal Commission is not going to keep any of us guessing that behaving badly is not the solution.

Have you experienced hardship or loss due to bad financial advice?

At Berrill & Watson, we work with a lot of clients who have experienced loss because of misleading, negligent or simply bad financial advice. In many cases, we’ve worked with them to sue the financial adviser or lodge a complaint to the Ombudsman.

Get in touch with us for an initial free chat if you’d like advice about your specific circumstances or to arrange assistance with legal action you may be able to take.

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