CHOICE denies double standards

by Alex Holevas13 Dec 2011

Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn has defended the company's role in the Big Bank Switch campaign, saying any money it received was transparently revealed.

The consumer group has been singled out in the past for its perceived hypocrisy over the campaign, in which consumers were encouraged to switch mortgages and use buying power to find a better deal, with Choice receiving a commission.

Financial Planning Association (FPA) CEO Mark Rantall in particular has been critical over what he described as Choice's double standards and lack of transparency over referral fees, while the group has been critical of commissions received by brokers and financial planners.

Zinn hit back at suggestions of double-standards, telling Australian BrokerNews the Big Bank Switch fee was transparent both in "declaring it into the market, and declaring it to the consumer". 

"We received a fixed $250 per switch, which was to pay for the running of the campaign, and that was paid from One Big Switch's (a partner group) fixed commission rate of 0.5%. There were no trail commissions, so both of those fees were revealed openly with each offer," he said.

"We just wish there were industry standards which were as transparent and as straight forward as that."

According to Zinn, Choice was 'still considering its options' about a proposed venture into the financial planning space, after Choice CEO Nick Stace suggested it could be on the cards earlier this year.

Stace told the Australian Financial Review he wanted to compete with the financial advice industry.

"I sit on the board of an international consumer organisation that represents 250 consumer organisations in 120 countries and I can tell you financial advice in this country in among the worst," Stace told the AFR.

Stace accused brokers and financial advisers of giving consumers "crap financial advice", and said consumers wanted advice from "an organisation they could trust".

Related stories:

Big Switch, as CHOICE leads passed to brokers

Controversial switching campaign won't hurt brokers: Resimac

Consumer group blasts brokers


  • by ozboy 13/12/2011 10:14:56 AM

    Of course he would as it appears he has a very limited understanding of the space he is currently in and let me give you an example: Mr Zinn states; "We just wish there were industry standards which were as transparent and as straight forward as that."

    There are it is called the NCCP, may I with all due respect ask that you become familiar with it if you wish to continue to offer advise around mortgages.

  • by David P 13/12/2011 10:27:25 AM

    Shame Choice Shame !!!
    I wonder how supportive you would have been if it was another organisation endorsing & profitting from the "Big Switch".

  • by Big Joke 13/12/2011 10:46:55 AM

    Big Switch? Big Joke!! CHOICE should be ashamed....The People’s Independant Watchdog?? Zinn is dilusional - how can one remain independant when they receive "kickbacks" for promoting another business?? What's the old saying?....never bite the hand that feeds you.....and the high moral ground he takes about CHOICE is misleading - "We just wish there were industry standards which were as transparent and as straight forward as that.".....that shows Mr Zinn has little idea of whats going on as it's now compulsory to have agreements in place with referral partners and disclose commissions to clients.....potential customers of Big Switch should also be very careful that they are getting the right deal as there's many lenders with specials running at the moment so they could be selling themselves short if they don't get REAL lender choice. In this current market lenders are aggressive for business and offering discounts everywhere. It's time to stop the double standards and hypocrisy Mr Zinn - go back to being what your website promotes - "CHOICE is a trusted and independent voice working for Australian consumers"......