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Big decision looms for FPIA on Friday

The board of the Financial Planners and Insurance Advisers Association will decide on Friday what stance it will take on the issue of adviser regulation.

Tuesday, May 15th 2001, 6:55AM

by Philip Macalister

The board of the Financial Planners and Insurance Advisers Association will decide on Friday what stance it will take on the issue of adviser regulation.

The association has had two offers from Government MPs to help it advance some form of registration. Most recently, in a private initiative, FPIA president Paul O'Brien gained support from senior government MP Steve Maharey for the introduction of legislation covering adviser regulation.

Maharey is the minister for Social Welfare and is also responsible for the Office of the Retirement Commissioner.

Last year, Government whip Rick Barker also offered to sponsor a private members bill for the association.

The latest offer from Maharey takes the Barker proposal further.

Barker offered to sponsor a bill, however the association would have had to bear the considerable cost of drafting the bill. Also, there would have to be majority support within the industry for regulation.

Maharey has effectively fast-tracked that offer by saying he will draw up a bill which would require all people giving investment and insurance advice to be a member of an association.

Such an association would have to have a code of professional conduct, disciplinary procedures and a continuing education programme.

O'Brien says the Maharey offer comes from a personal approach by himself and it will be discussed by the FPIA board on Friday.

"The board will be voting this Friday on whether we proceed down this track," he says.

If they say yes then a consultative process will kick off which will include members and other interested parties such as the Investment Savings and Insurance Association.

O'Brien hopes that FPIA members will get behind the proposal, however he acknowledges that there will be strong opposition from some quarters of the industry.

His approach is that the association has to be proactive on the regulation issue, and has to be self-regulate itself before having regulation forced on it.

If it self-regulates then it won't be subjected to heavy-handed legislation like that in Australia and the United Kingdom, he says.

POLL: Should all advisers be forced to join a professional association? CAST YOUR VOTE HERE

You can read Philip's blog here: http://www.goodreturns.co.nz/blog/

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