Changes to the customer services model of NAB financial planners, which have been criticised by the Financial Services Union, have been postponed until February this year.
The changes were put to NAB staff in November last year and expected to be in action by the year's end. This was delayed due to difficulties including data issues.
Under the new model, clients who don’t have an active advice relationship with a NAB financial planner will be serviced by phone-based advisers.
The Financial Services Union has openly criticised the strategy and urged members to sign an authorisation to say they want to be represented by the union.
Without widespread support, NAB will argue that the majority of planners have accepted the changes, said the FSU in a statement.
The FSU said members were concerned about the loss of future revenue, damage to established businesses, difficulty to qualify and data error issues that resulted in an inaccurate list of customers.
“Members are also telling us they feel that NAB isn’t paying fairly by trying to change the terms of the Enterprise Agreement through consultation.”
MLC advice and marketing executive general manager has defended the model, which he believes is at a cost that better reflects the service customers want.
"Every customer is different and their needs are different," he said.
"For example some customers want advice at the point in time that they're setting up their financial arrangements. Other customers want an ongoing relationship and more active management of their portfolio."
NAB/MLC said the latest move will keep them ahead of key legislative changes such as the FoFA reforms and in step with evolving customer behaviour.
They have consulted with their advisers and believe advisers who are proactive and have strong customer relationships will benefit from the model. A long transition period will also give their advisers time to adjust to the new model.