Together Towards Tomorrow - 2016 PAA & IFA Conference

The 'Together Towards Tomorrow' National Advisers Conference 2016 has been announced by the PAA and IFA.

To be held on Thursday 28th and Friday the 29th of July 2016 at the SkyCity Convention Centre.

Registration opens Monday the 18th of January 2016.

A few things you can expect at the event:

  • Five advice specific spotlight sessions
  • 10 business and personal development sessions
  • Six plenary speakers and panels sessions


RFAs Regulated as AFAs - There is a Trade-off Possible

Nobody likes the prospect of an increase in regulation. RFAs are the same. Some have recorded their opinion that they would rather not be regulated as AFAs. (see Susan Edmunds' article on Goodreturns at this link). 

The issue here is closely aligned to labeling. Third-party advisers - whether AFA or RFA - generally hate the idea that a person registered in a QFE may have a business card which includes the magic words 'financial adviser' but have little or not scope or experience to provide anything other than execution only services. Put another way, they don't provide any personalised financial advice, so why are they allowed the use of the term? In the UK terms like "restricted adviser" are used to flag some limitation clearly to the consumer. Here in New Zealand our FSC asked in its submission on FAA/FSP review that "sales" be used in stead of "adviser". 

I know many hundreds of RFAs and thousands do business with Quotemonster. Most of them are what I would call 'AFA-ready': they are part-way through or have passed virtually all of their level 5 qualification, are members of a professional body, do continuing education, and have well-developed concepts of advice. Overwhelmingly the work they do is personalised financial advice and most of them would not object to being categorised as AFAs - after grumbling a bit about the cost and record keeping. Some of them even wanted to be regulated as AFAs and were told that they cannot unless they advise on category one products. 

Still a few RFAs may be unhappy with the change, but if it was part of a package of changes that saw the QFE advisers lose the right to use the coveted term 'financial adviser' unless they were actually providing advice, I suspect most would think it was worth it. 

The other issue that is overlooked by the people commenting on Susan's article is that you remain free to offer a class or execution-only service, provided the client understands and agrees. 

2020 National Adviser Conference

Here's the slideshow from today's conference session: 


Key questions and issue from the session: 

Commission restriction and access to advice - several advisers were concerned about commission restriction. The panel view the advice as being the issue, not the commission. We all shared the concern about ordinary New Zealanders being able to access advice, get choice in the products they can select from, and get the cover they need. Although Warwick and I both argue that advisers will be able to provide more advice and have more resilient businesses if they also provide some services on a fee basis. 

We encouraged advisers to make submissions on the MBIE issues paper on Financial Advisers Act and Financial Service Providers Act

Product value: Alan Rafe highlighted Quality Product Research Limited views on the relative value of products showing clearly the big difference in cover scope offered by, for example, most 'direct' products, compared to most products which pay a commission. While it may seem counter-intuitive direct products usually have high distribution costs (albeit not commission) and often have higher premiums because of abbreviated underwriting processes. 

Fee and commission mix - a couple of questions about the right mix between fee and commission. One identified the need to disclose commission. It was clear this is done by some advisers, not all. Another opened up the subject of initial fee for advice and a level commission based on premium to pay for renewal and review services. 

Questions on the slides - one questioner wanted clarification on the commission slide: the slide totals all commissions for each of the offers, and shows all as a percentage of the highest. 

NZ Certificate in Financial Services Level 5

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Professional IQ College is the first provider to gain programme approval from NZQA for the new level 5 NZ Certificate for Financial Advisers and is proud to announce the roll out of this qualification to the financial services sector. The programme is specifically designed for individuals who are working in the financial services industry and who want AFA status qualifications or specialist knowledge in insurance, personal risk, residential property lending, or investment. Designed by advisers for advisers, the only industry owned College can deliver flexible options to meet your individual need.

All the programmes are quality assured by financial services specialists so you can rely on the knowledge being practicable and applicable to your sector of the industry- Personal Risk or General Insurance.

Lesley Southwick Principal says “Following feedback from the industry and the success of our national certificate in financial services programmes, we have developed user friendly study guides and a programme of learning that supports online or a distance approach which is supported with individualised student contact from our Student Liaison Manager.

While the NZ Certificates are primarily regulatory. Completion of the programmes will allow any student to gain the NZ Certificate in Financial services Level 5. Enrolment with Professional IQ College allows a student access to a personal" dashboard" which enables the creation of a personal learning plan.

We provide an alternative to those wanting to gain AFA status by now being able to deliver the Investment module as well.

Whether you are just starting out as an insurance broker or life & Health adviser or in any sector of financial services or just want to become qualified our online programmes can support you. We provide individual support to all students and keep in regular contact with our students.

Enrol in the whole qualification to attract the most cost effective pricing. Individual module options are available to enrol in also. Enrol now for the new Level 5 certificate and pay the introductory price.

PAA Axes Holiday Homes

There is quite a lot of passion around the thorny issue of the PAA holiday homes and I have no wish to offend any friends and/or clients by weighing in on one side or the other, especially from a relatively uninformed viewpoint.

The only comment I would like to offer is that it provides an interesting focal point for the discussion about the purpose of membership organisations. At one end of the spectrum is a focus on member benefits, however unrelated to the profession. At the other, is a focus on the profession, however unrelated to members. That makes this is about more than holiday homes, and makes it interesting. Link

Predictions and Directions for 2015

As we enter the traditional planning phase of the year I shall be looking in more detail at the following subjects: 

  1. Corporate activity likely over the coming year
  2. Financial Advisers Act Review
  3. Vertically integrated sales channels and their attributes
  4. The pace of change, and in particular how it affects advisers and clients
  5. Complexity of consumer financial lives and how it affects planning
  6. The body of knowledge on risk management and the extent to which its concepts have been adopted in the sale of insurance

Also, looking at current trends and issues we can explore some scenarios and consider some of the likely events for the coming year. Predictions may even be possible. We will, of course, cover more. Your suggestions are welcome - so put through an email.