With the release of the Options Paper marking the next step in the Review of the Financial Advisers Act, the Professional Advisers Association CEO Rod Severn told NZ Adviser he is pleased that the Paper shows that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has followed through with the industry’s concerns.
“They’ve listened to us and they’ve put recommendations forward that we’ve been asking for,” says Severn.
“A single designation for all advisers is still one that’s very much being spoken about and clearly defining the differences between advice and sales is still very much at the forefront of this document, as is simplifying disclosure and implementing minimum standards.
“Those are the types of things that we have been pushing hard for and they are very much there, so we’re very happy that they’ve listened to us. If we can get those sorts of things sorted out, then we’re well on the way to having a really robust industry moving forward.”
The PAA had a meeting with MBIE on the Options paper yesterday and the Ministry highlighted the following seven key areas for change:
1. Restrictions on who can provide advice
2. Advice and technology
3. Ethical and client care obligations
4. Competency obligations
5. Tools for ensuring compliance
6. Disclosure to consumers
7. Finding an adviser
“Those topics are the key points around the Act and these are the points that need to be fleshed out,” says Severn.
“It’s about working through these at a practical level to get to a point where everyone’s happy. If we can get these nutted out over the next three months we’re well on the way to having a really good workable Act that will reduce complexity, reduce cost, raise customer awareness, raise the trust level and the quality and standard of advice that’s out there, right across the board.”
Severn said there will be many workshops taking place in the first quarter of next year and the PAA will be heavily involved in each of them. He says it’s encouraging that the MBIE is taking an open, consultative approach and advisers need to make the most of the opportunity for change.
“This is (advisers’) livelihood; this is why they get up in the morning,” says Severn.
“If they don’t take advantage of the opportunity they have now to respond either to us or their own association or directly to MBIE, then they’re missing a golden opportunity to put their views forward. They’ve got a terrific window of opportunity here and they should embrace it.”