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Workplaces the next battleground for advisers

Workplaces will become increasingly important for financial advisers in future as the client base and focus of the industry changes, NZ Funds Management chief executive Richard James predicts.

Thursday, November 8th 2012, 6:50AM

by Niko Kloeten

The merits of trying to promote adviser businesses through workplace seminars and other programmes is a topic of debate in the industry, with some seeing it as a loss leader that will pay off in future.

Speaking at the NZ Funds adviser session in Auckland yesterday, James said the company’s foray into workplace financial advice had seen better-than-expected results so far.

NZ Funds works with some of New Zealand’s best-known corporate names and it has developed software specifically focused on workplace advice, including a new programme designed for businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

“We’ve been positively surprised about how receptive companies are to the programme and to allowing us in to talk to their people about financial decision-making.  I have a reasonably strong confidence this part of the business will be a success,” James said.

“We see the workplace as the most profitable battleground of the future for financial advisers.”

It hasn’t just been the response from employers that has impressed; James said the programmes have been achieving instant results with a large number of the employees taking part.

“Anecdotally 5-10% of the people who go through these programmes immediately want to talk to an adviser,” he said.

“Over time an increasing proportion of people will realise they can’t work it out for themselves… when their problems get to a certain size they realise they need help.”

James said the importance of workplace advice would increase as the financial planning industry widened its focus from those with lump sums to invest to those in the accumulation phase.

This shift, he said, would be driven in large part by the rise of KiwiSaver.

“Years ago there were hundreds of thousands of potential clients… today there are millions.”

Niko Kloeten can be contacted at niko@goodreturns.co.nz

« KiwiSaver guidance could be challenged in courtFund managers call for level playing field »

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