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Commission ban 'inevitable'

New Zealand is almost certain to follow the lead of other countries such as Britain and ban commissions for advisers, Milford Asset Management executive director Brian Gaynor says.

Friday, February 1st 2013, 8:43AM 2 Comments

by Niko Kloeten

Milford doesn’t pay commissions on any of its products including KiwiSaver, the fastest-growing segment of the market, where trail commissions are usually about 25 basis points

Gaynor said the decision not to pay trails wasn’t made with the intention of “bypassing” financial advisers, but admitted it had slowed down Milford’s growth in funds under management.

“That’s been our philosophy at the beginning.  We could have paid trailing fees at the beginning and we would have grown a lot quicker but we’ve got no regrets about it.”

The UK has recently moved to ban commissions on investment products and Gaynor said it was “inevitable” that New Zealand would follow one day. 

“We’ve seen with the finance company model where they were paying trailing fees that it’s not a good model.  In the end most jurisdictions are moving away from that because it’s a flawed model.”

And a fellow fund manager believes advisers will be well-equipped to handle the transition if commissions are banned because many of them have switched to a fee-for-service model already.

John Berry, executive director of Pathfinder Asset Management, said his firm also doesn’t pay commissions and this hasn’t been a problem for most advisers.

“The adviser community is a long way down the track of not accepting commissions… we’ve only had a couple of advisers who looked unhappy when we said we don’t pay them,” he said.

Berry said there was nothing inherently “evil” about commissions but they could create a conflict of interest - or a perception of one.

“They don’t necessarily influence the behaviour of advisers but it’s the perception they do that is the problem,” he said.

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

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Comments from our readers

On 1 February 2013 at 10:31 am Forthright said:
A visit to the website http://the-international-investor.com/comparison-tables/cheapest-uk-stock-brokers will enlighten you on how complicated a simple brokerage /commission system can become. I imagine most UK advisers and investors are thinking those New Zealanders are genius’s for still having a simple and understandable brokerage / commission system for share trading.
On 1 February 2013 at 4:11 pm steve tutbury said:
The FA Act was introduced to help raise industry standards of disclosure and transparency. While I do not have any beef with the Act, as an AFA, I object to the idea of being straightjacketed into how I earn an income.

The Act has ensured we disclose to our clents how we are paid and who by. Fees/Commission/Brokerage/Trail. Call them what you like.

How we run our business is our business. End of story.
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