[Weekly Wrap] Room for two?
This week a proposed merger between two industry associations reignited the debate over whether there is room for more than one "professional body" in the financial adviser marketplace.
Friday, October 26th 2012, 9:25AM
by Niko Kloeten
The TNP Professional Association (TNPPA), which only launched earlier this year, is looking at merging with the Life Brokers Association, whose members have already approved the amalgamation. The vote will be put to TNPPA members in a couple of weeks' time. If approved the new entity will be named the New Zealand Financial Advisers' Association (NZFAA).
One of the interesting issues around the deal is that the former LBA members who come across will now find CPD is compulsory. The new organisation will look to provide similar services to the Institute of Financial Advisers but targeted mostly at Registered Financial Advisers (RFAs) who make up the bulk of the membership of both groups. The IFA says it is happy to work with the new group; however, it says that while there can be a number of industry associations, there can only be one professional body in the industry because, according to IFA chairman Tony Vidler, "you can't have competing and different standards."
This morning we saw the latest development in the stoush between Elevation Capital and Marlin Global, with Marlin rejecting Elevation's criticism of its decision to renew Fisher Funds' management contract ahead of its annual meeting next week. Elevation is pushing for Marlin to be wound up and capital returned to shareholders, while Marlin says Elevation has "misunderstood" its management agreement. Suffice it to say, next week's annual meeting should be an interesting one.
Another interesting story this week was about NZ Funds' transition to a fee-for-service model in its financial advisory business, a move chief executive Richard James says has largely been welcomed by clients. This includes those who have been brought across from other advisory firms NZ Funds has purchased, most of which ran an asset-based fee model that James has described as "insidious". However, much of the industry still uses asset-based fees, as is the case in Australia where industry lobbying blocked a bid to ban such fees in the FOFA (Future of Financial Advice) legislation.
Meanwhile, the government's announcement it is negotiating a FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) agreement with the US is good news for advisers. With the Financial Advisers Act still getting bedded in and new anti-money laundering legislation due to come into effect next year, the prospect of having to deal with US tax authorities was probably not one many advisers were looking forward to. They will also be able to roll much of their compliance in this area in with their anti-money laundering obligations, effectively killing two birds with one stone.
We also had a couple of interesting investment analysis pieces this week, including a closer look at Fonterra's "strait-jacketed" capital structure and what it might mean for investors and the New Zealand economy. Another piece looks at how to invest in the "new" Europe.
In the KiwiSaver section this week, the FMA's analysis found that almost $750 million was transferred between schemes in the year to March, about 6% of the $12.7 billion in FUM it reached by the end of the year. However, fees ($129 million) only accounted for 1% of FUM.
In mortgage news, new Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler has kept the OCR at 2.5% while surprising some with a hint of optimism. Meanwhile, it's not the demise of the National Bank but a floating rate increase at another bank that seems to have customers riled.
PS: There is no further news yet on a new owner for Perpetual's advisory business but we are reliably informed it is not a "retirement farm" for advisers but the average age is well under 60. Apologies for that.
Niko Kloeten can be contacted at email@example.com
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