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Financial Planning Definition progress

This news is helpful - that guidance on the definition of financial planning may be coming. However, this may not be sufficient.

As the disagreement between the views of Angus Dale-Jones and Ross Butler illustrate, there is not agreement on what the law actually means. I could give you my view, but then you'd only have a third. But the views of everyone on this point matters, but not a great deal. It doesn't actually matter whether the Securities Commission and the Code Committee agree - but the fact of a disagreement illustrates the danger for companies and advisers looking at category 2 (registration).

Let me explain. 

The law is law. While it may be helpful for the Securities Commission to issue guidance it is only their view. They provide modest reassurance to companies that at least they will not face Commission-led action. However, if anyone else wishes to challenge this, in court, an adviser (or adviser channel, perhaps) that is not using authorised advisers on the basis that they are really doing financial planning then the issue will be decided in court. The defence might call on the Commission. But the current disagreement indicates a high likelihood that there is a great deal of uncertainty over the outcome. The complainant may submit Ross Butler's comments in support of their arguments.

Whether you think all financial advisers should be authorised or not doesn't matter. This was either a fudge or a mistake in the law - nobody profits from  this uncertainty. Either the law should clearly state that everyone should be an AFA, or  it should clearly outline who can operate and under what circumstances as a registered adviser. Otherwise all we end up with is consumer uncertainty, legislative uncertainty, and richer lawyers.


2010: The year of the tablet - technology | Stuff.co.nz

The year of the tablet PC has finally arrived after a decade-long push from Microsoft. The device, which is much smaller than a notebook, but bigger than a phone, is being dubbed 'net tablet' or 'netTabs.'

What's so special about them? They're expected to be priced between $400 - $800, weigh less than 500g and measure about 8-inches x 5-inches. NetTabs could also inherit features such as Wi-Fi and mobile network access, full colour touchscreens and access to app stores.

via www.stuff.co.nz

As an early adopter - and then abandoner - of tablet technology I really want this to be the case. For tablet computers to work well enough to do wht they should be able to do. For me the issues are these:

1) Instant On. They cannot, repeat, cannot spend more than 1 second booting up to the point you can start writing. Anything longer than "slide to unlock" is a fail.
2) Handwriting recognition. It's a must, and it must be good, and it must be robustly integrated with the key applications (essentially all of Office, plus a browser).
3) Tough. If the gear is going to get lugged around it must be strong. I've dropped my i-phone a dozen times. It's scratched but it works fine. If I'd done that to my last tablet it would have broken every single time.
4) Cheap. Ditch the keyboard, ditch the stupid twisty around screen thing, focus on the device's niche - don't try to be everything.

Having said all of that, I'm going to buy one, because that's really the only way to find out.


NZMBA research complete

It's always great putting away a project. We've now completed the analysis on the NZMBA research and we're making presentations of the full report to sponsors (only a couple of questions are released free in the media statement, and there's 120 pages of charts and graphs in the full version).

Some gems cover areas such as incomes, business structure, intentions around regulation, sales of allied services (how much, how they feel about it), service ratings of provider companies, preferred training, media, and so on... drop me a line if you would like more information.


NZMBA research complete

It's always great putting away a project. We've now completed the analysis on the NZMBA research and we're making presentations of the full report to sponsors (only a couple of questions are released free in the media statement, and there's 120 pages of charts and graphs in the full version).

Some gems cover areas such as incomes, business structure, intentions around regulation, sales of allied services (how much, how they feel about it), service ratings of provider companies, preferred training, media, and so on... drop me a line if you would like more information.


Great Charts

For those of us that struggle to render complicated concepts in visually engaging ways we can standa back and apppreciate really good charts or graphs. This is a famous one, and you've probably seen it before -- but it's worth recalling. All this, and done without the aid of the marvellous software tools that we have today. Link.

The Solomon Curve

This post is a straight lift from my friend Jit from the UK. He's just blogged on the Solomon Curve - essentially this describes the effect of increasing risk of deviation from the average speed of the traffic around you - either too fast or too slow - and how that affects your risk of having a crash. The results are something Jit describes as counterintuitive. But I'm not so sure - we've probably all felt the frustration of travelling behind something very slow (especially during the recent summer driving season) and realised that we were contemplating riskier tactics to overtake the vehicle. Well worth a look. Link.

Now, contemplate why the balance of risks is higher for going slower than average and not for going faster than average. If you can go fast, then that probably means there are fewer cars around.

However, before we cheerfully run off and start speeding - it's not about that. Low speed crashes (usually with cars striking each other but both going in the same direction, so the speed of the slower vehicle is effectively subtracted from the speed of the faster vehicle cause a lot less damage, injuries, and come with lower risks of death. High speed crashes much more often involve cars travelling in different directions - where the speed of both cars is effectively added together. These are very nasty. These are the ones where people die.

Also, there is the question of predictable behaviour - and that's what speed limits are all about. But it does leave me to take issue with one of our road safety banners: "It's not a target" seen that one? Well, given that we're all safer if we all pretty much drive at the same speed, in some senses, it should be.