Demystify licensing - understanding what is required to be licensed as a financial advice provider
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Why advisers don't score as well as direct insurers for client satisfaction, and that's okay

Contrast my experiences recently around food. Last Saturday night Fran and I ate at Carmen Jones on Karangahape Road. They do great tapas. They show us a menu, we read it, and they say 'excellent choice' and head off to the kitchen to make the order. After eating the meal I was very satisfied. Had consumer magazine phoned me up to ask how much, the score would have been pretty darned high. Seriously, its a great place, I recommend it.

We also see a nutritionist, who weighs, measures, and questions us about our eating. As our adviser, she routinely challenges us to do better. Good advice often requires a change in behaviour. In food it is often 'back off dessert, boost up the salads'. Sometimes we leave her office feeling a bit chastened and even, at times, a bit defensive. I happen to think she gives excellent advice, but compared to how I feel right after a lovely meal, it is nothing like as satisfying. 

I believe that great financial advice works similarly. When it is done right, it is challenging, not necessarily satisfying.

It also generates good results. 

ASIC data on claims outcomes finds that clients that seek financial advice tend to get their claims accepted more often.

Our own regulator, the FMA, gets many, many more complaints about insurers, than financial advisers.

Both suggest that the picture painted by the consumer survey of client satisfaction is insufficient. Not wrong, merely incomplete. If commissions were the biggest problem we have, these results would not, and could not, co-exist. Of course, this is useful information. No adviser, insurer, or management consultant should ignore information like this - it has lessons to contribute all around the segment. But the world is a complicated, messy place, and the story of the insurance sector is bigger and more interesting than this. 

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