FSC Get in Shape Conference

The FSC Get in Shape Conference is just around the corner and we thought it was a good time to highlight what to expect if attending. The conferences will be held in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin. The FSC has ensured relevant topics are discussed by industry leaders in the sessions and Masterclass. Highlights of the conference include:

  • Meet and engage with the leaders shaping our sector and regulatory landscape. These include Leaders from the MBIE, the FMA, the CFFC and the financial advisory sector.
  • Consumer focus - We will unpack the latest research from across the NZ and the globe  and understand how Financial Advice is helping Kiwis lead better lives.
  • Engage with Leading legal minds at the Masterclass - The masterclass is curated by those that understand what it really means to succeed under the new regulation. Our line up of legal experts and leading advisers will be run in a practical workshop style to have you thinking outside the box and teach you how to best use resources available to you.
  • Connect  and network with your colleagues - After a very tough 2020, join your colleagues for a morning of learning, engaging and getting inspired for the year ahead.
  •  Meet  you in the market place – Once again our marketplace expo is the meeting place to connect with your suppliers and partners.
  • CPD -  Get your CPD & learning program off to a strong start for 2021. All sessions will be assessed and all attendees will receive CPD certificates for sessions attended. 

Those interested in attending can register here and find the dates and location below.

WELLINGTON
Wednesday, 10 February 2021
Arrival from 7:15am, welcome at 8:00am, advice summit close 12:45 followed by Masterclass from 1.15pm until 3.15pm

Members Gallery
Sky Stadium
105 Waterloo Quay
Pipitea,
Wellington 6140

AUCKLAND
Thursday, 11 February 2021
Arrival from 7:15am, welcome at 8:00am, advice summit close 12:45 followed by Masterclass from 1.15pm until 3.15pm

North Level 5 Lounge
Eden Park Function Centre
10 Reimers Ave
Kingsland
Auckland 1024

CHRISTCHURCH
Wednesday, 17 February 2021
Arrival from 7:15am, welcome at 8:00am, advice summit close 12:45 followed by Masterclass from 1.15pm until 3.15pm

Tait Technology Centre
245 Wooldridge Road
Harewood
Christchurch 8051

DUNEDIN
Thursday, 18 February 2019
Arrival from 10:00am, welcome at 10:30am, close 3.00pm followed by Masterclass from 3.15pm until 5.15pm

Dunedin Centre
1 Harrop Street
Dunedin 9016

Get In Shape 2021 Big Banner v1 - Financial Services Council


FADC rules adviser in breach of code standard, and more daily news

The Financial Advisers Disciplinary Committee (FADC) has concluded that an adviser breached the Code of Professional Conduct for Authorised Financial Advisers. The case was brought forward by the FMA after it begun an investigation on the adviser on 23 August 2019. The adviser, who has name suppression, operated under three different businesses offering financial advice, financial planning, investments, mortgage broking, KiwiSaver, retirement planning, residential property management, and personal and small business tax advice services. Through the FMA investigation, it was found that there were three breaches of Code Standard 15. The breaches were in relation to financial advice, personalised services, and client relationship management provided to three clients. Advisers looking to ensure that their advice processes are up to standard would benefit from our Advice Process Management service.

“The Financial Advisers Disciplinary Committee (FADC) has today published its decision regarding a case brought by the FMA. The case relates to alleged breaches of the Code of Professional Conduct for Authorised Financial Advisers.

It says that "this is a case about breaches of the Code". It is not about the integrity of the financial adviser. "There is no suggestion that she has improperly benefited at the expense of her clients, or that any client has been disadvantaged."

"But, the provisions of the Code are fundamental and adherence to them is always required."

The financial adviser still has interim name suppression, but the decision says she registered as an AFA on the FSPR in 2011. She offers a range of services including financial advice, financial planning, investments, mortgage broking, KiwiSaver, retirement planning, residential property management and personal and small business tax advice (as a tax agent) through her business. She trades under three businesses, one of which is registered on the FSPR from 2011 as an employer or principal of a financial adviser and/or Qualifying Financial Entity.

After an unrelated complaint in January 2018, the FMA took an interest in the AFA, which culminated in a monitoring visit to the premises in May 2019, and a desk based review in July 2019.

As a result of these two visits, the FMA began an investigation on August 23, 2019.

The investigation found that the AFA breached standards 12 and 15 of the Code, which relate to keeping information about personalised services for retail clients, and the requirement to have an adequate knowledge of Code, Act and laws.

The court briefing says that "The breaches are established in respect of three clients, whose identities are permanently suppressed; it consists of the adviser having failed:

  1. to record in writing adequate information about a personalised service provided to a retail client
  2. to demonstrate adequate knowledge of the relevant legislative obligations which result from the term ‘personalised service’."” Click here to read more

In other news

Cigna: Multi-benefit discount offer on Assurance Extra products extended to 28 February 2021

Cigna: Karen Ward appointed as Head of Claims

Cigna: Nicci Johnston appointed as Head of Customer Care

Financial Advice: Ready, Set, Go webinars to begin 27 January 2021

Financial Advice: Trusted Adviser mark to be publicly launched 15 February 2021


Numbers are numbing - it is stories that get us, and our clients, to make good choices

I am not thrilled with checking on COVID-19 numbers. You have probably done this quite a bit over the last year. It is hard to believe that at this date last year was the first point at which human to human transmission was confirmed by a Chinese scientist. There would still be weeks before it became clear that this was going to be a global pandemic, and it was not until the end of March that we realised how bad, and therefore how serious the response would need to be. Things changed rapidly. Throughout that period I have checked various statistics sites, built models, talked with insurers about impacts, reinsurers, and gathered information that is relevant to the sector. I am not exactly sick of it, but the grim reality does weigh one down.

But these are merely numbers. I know, of course, that each number is a precious life lost. Even for many of the survivors there are very long-lasting effects. But the numbers never quite make it real, in some way, they overwhelm. This is a lot like using statistics to try and convince a young couple that they might need insurance. It is simply too hard to see themselves as one of those numbers. It is the emotional pull of real life that brings the issues home to me:

In March last year, my first experience of a friend with Covid-19: they flew back from the United States sitting next to someone on the plane 'who coughed a bit' - a few days after landing here, in isolation, they found they had Covid-19. That was months ago, she still has difficulty walking any significant distance. 

A distant relative, elderly, hospitalised during the first wave in the UK, caught Covid-19, and impressively, at 98, survived. My father does volunteer work collecting food for his church to distribute through their food bank. It is a great job to have in retirement. He's in his late 70s and still collects - even though it isn't safe, really, for him to do so. Three of his friends have had Covid-19 - fortunately they all survived. A friend in the church, her son who worked in Spain was critically ill - fortunately he survived. 

But so many don't live through it. You can see accounts of lots of people. Check out the BBC website. But again, more directly: last night I was on a zoom call which largely hosted people in the UK. There were 88 people on the call. Two who spoke had family members die in the last week. One woman's mother died during the week from Covid-19. One man lost his best friend 'choked to death' he said by Covid-19. Both in the last week. 

 

 


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

18 Jan 2021 – FMA released consultation on the Review of the Wholesale Investor Exclusion $750,000 Minimum Investment Exemption, with submissions closing on 26 Feb 2021. https://www.fma.govt.nz/compliance/consultation/consultation-paper-review-of-the-wholesale-investor-exclusion-750000-minimum-investment-exemption/


The essentials for overcoming future catastrophes, and more daily news

Diana Clement wrote a NZ Herald article on the need for being prepared in case of unexpected circumstances. Clement highlights that we need to be mentally prepared for the occurrence of personal or societal catastrophes. Clement continues by noting that getting out of debt and having savings is essential to overcome future crises. The need for budgets is highlighted by using the events surrounding COVID-19. Steve Morris, a financial adviser at SW Morris & Associates notes that we would all benefit from using digital tools such as free digital tools for personal cashflow forecasting such as PocketSmith. Insurance is highlighted as being another essential thing for New Zealanders to have in place to ensure protection. Income protection, mortgage protection, trauma/critical illness, permanent disability, business interruption, medical, and life insurance are all mentioned, with Clement saying each offers different types of cover that are useful in different circumstances. Although insurance is deemed as essential, Clement concludes by saying that no insurance policy is completely fool proof.

“My usual New Year articles are all about the positive stuff and how you can turn your year around. But after 2020, let's talk about preparedness. That includes being mentally prepared for curved balls, having savings, and taking out insurance.

Mental preparedness. Do you have a plan for the next time the world turns to custard? Unpredictable (black swan) events such as the Global Financial Crisis and now pandemic, hit us every 10 years or so. We can have personal black swan events such as divorce, or illness. Financial adviser Steve Morris of SW Morris & Associates has seen an upswing in couples separating after lockdown. This can be financially crippling. He recommends getting help from organisations such as The Parenting Place before the relationship ends up on the rocks.

Savings. Getting out of debt and building up some savings is essential if you want to ride out the next financial crisis. If you're constantly a few weeks from financial meltdown then this applies to you. It's hard, but you need to change your thinking and create a budget. People can and do turn their finances around. Use Covid-19 as the financial catalyst to get you started.

In an ideal world you need three to six months living costs (not income) squirrelled away. Providing you are still able to work and willing, most people will find a job within that period.

The best tool for this is a budget. I know it sounds boring, but it's simple to write your first budget and the outcome can be truly life-changing. I follow a number of investing and get out of debt forums and see ordinary Kiwis celebrating cutting up their last credit card or beginning an emergency fund. Don't write it off. It can happen.

Morris also recommends using the free digital tools for personal cashflow forecasting from PocketSmith.

Insurance. The whole point of insurance is to cover yourself financially when unexpected events hit. That's insurance cover for your health, income, and property.

A variety of insurances can cover your income/outgoings. They include income/mortgage protection, trauma/critical illness, permanent disability, business interruption, medical, and life insurance (which often pays out if you're diagnosed with a terminal illness. Each covers different risks and it's a good idea to seek advice from a financial adviser. Everyone is covered by ACC for accidents, but you're more likely to become disabled by illness, and only qualify for Work & Income benefits if you don't have insurance. When insuring yourself, make sure you think about the non-working or lower-earning partner, says Morris. All too often a higher-earning spouse has to reduce hours to pick up parenting duties if the other spouse becomes ill, is disabled, or dies, says Morris. Trauma cover is very good in this situation because it usually pays a lump sum, he says.

Insurance is essential in our modern world, but no insurance policy is 100 per cent foolproof. Because the things you will claim on are unexpected, they could fall outside the policy wording.” Click here to read more

In other news

Partners Life: Expressions of interest for February virtual New Adviser Training Course open

FSCL: FSCL warns investors to beware of cryptocurrency scams


Lead generation website for sale

An adviser business has put up for sale a lead generation website. A lead generation website is offered for sale as the adviser running the site wishes to focus on their own region, not on serving clients nationally or running a referral business. This is a great opportunity for a national business with the skills to serve the self-employed market. Twenty leads a week are typical from the site. Handover support is offered so you can continue to get the best out of the opportunity. Contact me or my team for further information. 


Your insurer would not be happy about this...

Finder.com.au, an Australian money site, has done some research on Kiwi attitudes towards insurance. This was about general insurance, but I did think it amazing: 

A nationally representative survey of 2,001 New Zealanders aged 18 and above found that 88% of Kiwis lock their door, leaving 12% who do not.  That’s equivalent to 218,880 households not taking necessary safety precautions and leaving themselves vulnerable to break-ins. 

The second most commonly used home protection is house and contents insurance with 64% of Kiwi households having an insurance policy. Rounding out the top three is having locks on windows (52%). 

Do you see what I see? I think it amazing that insurance is referred to a home protection method in the midst of a list about locking your house and having locks on windows. We, the industry, may be partly to blame for referring to insurance often as wealth protection, equally frequently abbreviated to 'protection'. But the problem I have is that it may be seen as an alternative to physically securing your home. That is an exemplar of 'moral hazard' - that people may take less care when the financial consequences of their actions are reduced. Do we see this in the way people treat their health? Put another way, is there any evidence that we would not?

Of course I don't think that there are lots of people rationally, consciously, deciding to eat too much, not put on sunscreen, and undertake hazardous activities because they have insurance. It is a more subtle kind of pressure that is relieved. It is more like the way everyone drives a little faster when the road is wide and even than when it is narrow and has many corners. 


Is your insurer aligned to your values?

In December Paul Brownsey, of Pathfinder Asset Management, writing at Stuff, asked "Is your KiwiSaver making an impact?" The question is elaborated upon by drawing a link between spending decisions we make all the time and whether or not your KiwiSaver manager is supporting those goals: 

"In our daily lives, many of us are conscious consumers. We make active choices about where we spend our money, and increasingly we are making choices based on ethical considerations."

Brownsey believes that your KiwiSaver should be supporting the values you may exercise when you make other spending decisions. Should your insurance do likewise? While most insurers are very conservative managers they may retain impact, through corporate bonds for example,  and through information and incentives. Insurers may have little leverage through investments, but what about other incentives? How much should insurers take a stand to try and improve the lives of the people that they insure? Here in New Zealand we have some great contributions to make to wellbeing - and some areas where we fall far short. Some of those problems are quite diffuse - the costs seem distant and too difficult for people to appreciate. But insurers understand how choices that seem without consequence can affect risk substantially. 

Whatever the method, the question of whether the substantial monthly expenditure on insurance is supporting consumer values or not is bound to come up again and again as consumer's wealth and level of education continues to rise. 


Themes for 2021 in life and health insurance

What will be the big themes for 2021 for life and health insurance? 

  • Helping people keep their cover through disruption will continue to be a theme - although economic performance has been better than expected there remain quite a few people out there struggling with adjustment to the COVID economy. Several advisers tell me of long conversations that are essentially about conservation. They take time and they generate little revenue - this largely unsung work is of a piece with claims help and is part of the value of the commission model: the adviser isn't expecting to charge a fee for these discussions, they just want to help the client stay covered. 
  • The shift towards digital - within advice businesses, at insurers, and for consumers. Digital is an enabler of faster transactions, more efficient administration, better accuracy, and more meaningful engagement. More adviser businesses will develop better digital capability and be looking for ways to automate certain processes. That includes digital advice offerings. It also means better underwriting processes built around access to 
  • Direct - it has shown solid growth - and not merely as a proportion of the market which has shrunk, but in absolute terms. It has benefitted from a big drop in bancassurance and a big push through online social media platforms. I really want to see the quality of the offers improved in 2021, but that will probably require more work in the area above to achieve. 
  • Regtech - this is the year we begin to see regtech applied to insurer and adviser conduct programmes - analysis of all clients by a range of factors will be a vital complement to human-managed compliance processes.
  • Transition - to the new advice regime means that a lot of advisers will be spending a bit more time than usual working on systems, new processes, and disclosure requirements. That will hit productivity for a few weeks. Combined with holidays, will the nadir be the first quarter production figures with a recovery from there, or will the second quarter be the low point? I am expecting recovery and more confidence to recruit and focus on marketing to be able to get traction in at least the third quarter. 
  • Consolidation - adviser business size is definitely rising. The greater integration and co-ordination required to successfully meet new compliance requirements is reflected in the high number of authorised body structures being disclosed by FMA licensing statistics. 
  • Consumer knowledge and understanding will continue to rise as more advisers share relevant content in easily digestible digital media. Gradually the focus on what is most relevant and readily explainable will begin to percolate through consumer finance forums changing the general perception of 'good' this will further current consumer trends towards more living products and more packages of benefits. 

 

 


Partners Life to acquire BNZ Life from NAB

Partners Life will acquire BNZ Life from NAB (ASX:NAB) for $290 million. 

Congratulations to Partners Life on the acquisition and NAB on the disposal. This continues the trend in the industry for bancassurers to be sold into specialist insurance company ownership. That process began with AIA's acquisition of Sovereign and was continued by Cigna's acquisition of OnePath Life. 

Naomi Ballantyne's comment (see the interest.co.nz story below) on the acquisition covers the territory well highlighting aspects of Partners Life's product management that will benefit BNZ Life customers. 

A couple of useful links for more information: additional links added 17 December

https://www.interest.co.nz/banking/108443/bnzs-parent-national-australia-bank-agrees-sell-bnz-life-partners-life-nz290-million

https://kalkinemedia.com/au/news/stock-market/nab-asxnab-to-sell-bnz-life-to-partners-life-for-290-million

https://www.goodreturns.co.nz/article/976517972/partners-snares-bnz-life.html 

https://company-announcements.afr.com/asx/nab/c4a23f9e-3f52-11eb-8213-de18689b0679.pdf

https://player.vimeo.com/video/491351901 - the video announcement by Naomi Ballantyne, CEO, Partners Life