Cold calling cleared (with a catch)
Insurance advisers will still be able to make cold calls under a proposed law targeting unsolicited offers of financial products, but they will have to tread carefully.
Tuesday, May 29th 2012, 6:00AM
by Niko Kloeten
A financial law expert confirmed that, like the current "door to door" sales restrictions, the proposed unsolicited meetings restrictions would apply solely to offers of financial products (which do not include pure risk insurance products).
Chapman Tripp partner Tim Williams confirmed that only investment-type products are covered by this part of the Bill, while pure risk products are excluded; however, he said there could still be potential risks involved with cold calling if financial products are sold later.
He said, under the current proposals , Registered Financial Advisers (RFAs) could be caught out if, after cold calling someone to discuss insurance, they later discussed KiwiSaver or some other investment-type product where the discussions arose "because of" the initial, unsolicited "meeting" (the phone call).
He noted that there is an exception for offers made through Authorised Financial Advisers or (Qualifying Financial Entity) QFE advisers to people they cold call if the person approached becomes the adviser's client before the financial products are offered, but this "doesn't help RFAs".
"RFAs can sell [investment products] on a non-personalised basis and can give class advice,"he said. "But, if the proposal is enacted, RFAs will be unable to sell financial products on the back of unsolicited approaches they make to sell pure risk insurance."
The proposed law change has created confusion in the industry and at least one insurance adviser has contacted Commerce Minister Craig Foss for clarification.
Foss's response confirmed that insurance products will still be able to be sold via cold calling.
"Clause 71 replaces the existing prohibition on door-to-door sales of securities in the Securities Act, but is extended to cover "boiler room" practices and other unsolicited approaches, which could include the well-publicised recent practice of KiwiSaver scheme sales agents approaching beneficiaries outside WINZ offices," Foss said.
Niko Kloeten can be contacted at email@example.com
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