Adviser Ratings, a platform that lets users review their financial planners has launched, hoping to rebuild consumers’ faith in the sector.
The startup, armed with a database of 18,000 financial planners, is offering a Rotten Tomatoes-like service for people wanting to find a financial planner, and those who want to review one. It’s currently limited to Australia, but co-founder Angus Woods says the team is looking to take the platform overseas as soon as possible.
Adviser Ratings will give each of its 18,000 financial planners an ‘adviser’ rating, which will be based on their qualifications, experience in the marketplace, and compliance. In addition advisors will also be given a customer rating, which will be based solely on customers’ reviews.
Woods says there’s been a need for such a platform since the global financial crisis.
“There’s a crisis of confidence in the financial planning space,” he says.
“Adviser Rating is about rebuilding the trust and confidence in the industry. The number of people that use financial advisers in Australia in dwindling. It’s our aim to help grow that pie.”
The platform conforms to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission guidelines, and as such it has a number of mechanisms in place to prevent astro-turfing and similar practices. That’s achieved by a combination of manual and automated checks of things like email and IP addresses. Whenever a negative review is posted the subject of the review is given a period of time to respond to the criticism, before it goes online.
Customer reviews aren’t your typical one out of five, with a short spiel, like you might see on the Apple App Store. Woods says the startup worked with economists and psychologists to develop a survey of three to four minutes for reviewers.
The platform will continue to be available for free to users looking for a financial advisor, or wanting to review one, and monetisation will centre on building “value adding” products which can be offered to financial planners.
Woods says he and his co-founder Christopher Zinn have funded the startup themselves, but they’re currently finalising an investment proposition, which they’ll be taking to investors in the near future.