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Why Expert Advice Is In More Demand, Not Less

Regular reader will know that I am a fan of online services, and also a fan of advice. This article explains why consumers need more advice than before, even while their opportunities to 'buy direct' are increasing. 

"In the modern, fast and noisy world, there is no way customers can make the right decisions in all product categories. When buying non-commodity products customers almost always require some sort of expert advice and personalized product recommendations."


What's Best, Now What's Next Best?

A client asks you what's best, and you tell them. So far, so easy. The 'ideal' is both hard to define, and similarly, hard to get wrong. If its a car I could offer you a high-end Merc, or a a high-end Lexus. It doesn't have to be precisely the right thing, because most people aren't going to buy them.

So what's the next best offer?

This should now be a much more carefully crafted pitch. It can be because the ideal offer should have given the client the framework in which to give feedback. They can't afford that, okay, now what's the budget. Now I know, what's the tradeoff you want to make - ditch seats and keep speed - or keep space and prioritise economy?

Do you have a good system for figuring out next best? 

Insurance Industry A Healthier Place to Work Now

Rob Stock has this cool piece on how the insurance industry used to be really unhealthy, but is now getting its act together. It includes comments by Naomi Ballantyne (Partners Life), and references to other CEOs, Ralph Stewart (Retirement Income Group) and Lance Walker (CIGNA), who are also committed to healthier lifestyles. To this I could add Rob Hennin (nib) who is a keen cyclist, and Graeme Edwards (AIA) is also very active. It has been a revolution. I've turned things around quite a bit too from my old self. 

Australia: ‘Don’t treat every mental health claim the same’

Australian adviser, Ben Day says “I’ve spoken to mental health professionals who have said the last thing the vast majority of clients want is long periods off work.” Day goes on to say while some insurers are considerate and will review applications on a case-by-case basis, treating the claims based on severity and individual circumstances others have a 'blanket approach with no flexibility or consideration'. Click here to read more. 

FSC - Policy & Advocacy

A section from the April FSC Member Update:

Financial Advisers Act (FAA)

The FAA draft legislation is out and the market is abuzz with thinking, reviewing and responding to MBIE’s Consultation Paper on the
new Financial Advice Regime.

Within the FSC, a highly-engaged member committee formed to review and respond to the Consultation Paper and draft legislation.
The (policy and regulation) committee has been a great example of how a group of members can discuss contentious issues and
have healthy debate. A big thank you to all who contributed to the final submission.

The FSC’s submission reflected the diverse views of members and focussed on the six big themes of:

  • The Consumer
  • Advisers and Advice Categorisation
  • Client First
  • Conflicts of Interest and Inappropriate Incentives
  • Transition and Code Development
  • Robo-advice

The FAA is a substantial policy issue that will impact the financial services industry in New Zealand, and we will continue meeting
with MBIE and the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) to understand policy direction and represent our member views.