Big thank you to the Financial Services Council for organising the event 'Advice at the Crossroads', held this morning. Also thanks for Graham Rich, of Portfolio Construction Forum, for his challenging introduction to the event and my fellow panelists Katrina Shanks, new CEO of Financial Advice New Zealand, and Rebecca Sellers of Melior Law.
For a grey and wet morning it was a great turnout. More questions raised than answered, I felt, but some great contributions.
Kevin Smee raised the question of finding a way to get younger people interested in financial advice. Tony Vidler talked about the challenge of connecting with customers. Cris Nel observed that engagement with customers is what really works - a theme Naomi Ballantyne picked up as well. As always we talked about the conflict between the need to pay for financial advice and the different ways of doing that. Graham Rich said that trends around the world were against commission being a valid way to pay for financial advice. But others disagreed. I felt that sometimes in these discussions we mean different things by the term 'financial advice' a point which Rebecca Sellers nailed by talking about the difference between sales and advice, and describing the definition of financial advice as 'loose and baggy'.