The Advice Code Working Group has released its first draft of the code of conduct for financial advisers following a public consultation. The draft outlines 12 principles that financial advisers must follow, and introduces a potential minimum level five certificate qualification requirement.
The draft has since been welcomed by Financial Advice New Zealand and the mortgage adviser market, though concerns have been raised around the qualification side – specifically, its lack of acknowledgement of knowledge gained through industry experience.
“On the surface, the standards all set the mark in terms of what should be typical of good adviser behaviour,” The Mortgage Supply Company director David Windler told NZ Adviser.
“I agree with the idea of a minimum standard of education, but the only issue is the fact that there isn’t any methodology that recognises prior learning. There are many experienced advisers who very much know what they’re doing, but who don’t seem to have a pathway for that existing experience and knowledge to be identified and recognised. That’s something that I would like to see addressed.”
Windler says the industry will now have the chance to offer its feedback on the draft, and says that although the line in the sand needs to be drawn, the qualification course doesn’t necessarily prepare new advisers to enter the industry if they don’t have existing lending experience.
“There needs to be a measure of practical learning,” Windler explained. “There’s currently something called RPL (recognition of prior learning), and that recognition can be gained either through qualifications or through industry experience. When you’re educating adults who have life and industry experience, that needs to count for something and it can’t be ignored in your accreditation process. Having everyone take the same course and immediately be at the same level just doesn’t ring true for me, because you’ve got lenders with 15-20 years of experience. That’s really where the gap is at the moment.”
“As it stands, it’s still a sensible document and it reflects the standards that the industry should be held accountable to,” he added.
“As time goes on, advisers will be looking at how they go about showing that they meet those standards, and that’s where adviser process and compliance will become more important. That’s something all mortgage adviser businesses will be working on over the next while.”