Managing Conflicts of Interest
How Savings.com.au avoids conflicts of interest
What Drives Savings.com.au?
Savings.com.au exists to help people save money. To do this, it generates relevant and factual information which is freely accessible to anyone visiting its web site or accessing the content through other digital channels including email subscriptions, Facebook, LinkedIn and various other social media.
It must present this information in a way which can be easily consumed, free of charge and in a sustainable manner. So whether it be more educational in nature or simple tips and ‘life-hacks’, there is a substantial investment of time and resources (employees, computer systems, regulatory compliance, etc.) made by Savings.com.au to curate, house and maintain the content. Most importantly for Savings.com.au however, above all of these commitments, is for it to demonstrate that it is worthy of its audiences’ trust.
Achieving a Balance
This critical trust element is underpinned by Savings.com.au’s efforts to manage the balance between sustaining its commercial operations whilst maintaining an uncompromising focus on its purpose which is to genuinely help people save money.
The key component of commercial sustainability for an operation like Savings.com.au is generating revenue. A more detailed account of how Savings.com.au generates revenue can be read here, but for the purpose of this explanation, Savings.com.au earns revenue by connecting (generally) financial product suppliers (eg. banks, building societies, credit unions, etc..) to those parts of the Savings.com.au audience which are in market, and whom see value in the contextually relevant products published within the content.
Our Editorial Team Operates Separately from our Commercial Team
So what drives the content, the potential to generate revenue or the focus on helping people save money? The answer for Savings.com.au is to always start first with the latter. We write content which we know people in the community are searching for answers on and seeking help for. If this content generates opportunities for the Savings.com.au team to connect the ensuing audience to products that it believes align with the contextual purpose of the content, then it will publish those products within the content and make available the opportunity to connect product provider/s to this audience via a commercial relationship. Importantly, Savings.com.au frequently publishes products within its editorial content whether there is a commercial relationship in place with a product provider or not.
Savings.com.au’s Responsibilities and Obligations
Any advice provided or perceived from Savings.com.au content is intended to be general in nature (eg. not Personal Advice where a person’s individual circumstances and needs are taken into account).
Savings.com.au is part of the Firstmac Group. As such, it has a number of ‘sister’ brands including the online lender, ‘Loans.com.au’. As was previously mentioned around the separation of editorial and commercial interests within the Savings.com.au operation, the same applies in relation to the deterrence of any commercial influence over any aspect of the Savings.com.au operation from other sister brands within the Firstmac group.
In essence, Savings.com.au sister brands will be treated in the same manner as any other product provider looking to connect with the Savings.com.au audience. If the Savings editorial team judge that products from a sister brand do not meet the purpose test of ‘helping consumers save money’ within the context of that particular piece of curated content, then they will not be included in the editorial content– regardless of the monetary opportunity on offer to savings.com.au.
When in doubt, escalate
Savings.com.au has access to licensing compliance expertise within the broader Firstmac Group – including clearly defined paths to escalate potential issues where the Savings.com.au team is unable to make a clear-cut decision around a potential conflict of interest.