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Adviser remuneration for all to see

Advisers face new laws today which require them to, amongst other things, make up-front disclosure of their fees. Although the government had flagged the changes well in advance, regulations outlining what the new rules meant were only released at the end of last year.

Friday, February 29th 2008, 6:48AM
Good Returns understands it has been a real scramble for the industry to get its new disclosure documents ready.

One lawyer, who has been involved in the process, says that some of the disclosure documents explaining the remuneration process, are reasonably lengthy. Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel says the new rules will give investors extra protection.

"This marks a leap forward for the investment industry which will now be subject to more stringent rules. Anyone who gives investment advice to clients will have to provide more information up-front especially about how they are being paid to recommend particular investments. Disclosure is mandatory and must be made without the client having to ask for it."

The new disclosure rules extend to any benefits to be received by the adviser, whether from the client or another source, and include "soft" commissions and indirect benefits relevant to the advice being given.

Investment advisers' disclosure must include:

  • their experience and qualifications
  • criminal convictions
  • the nature and level of fees charged
  • other interests and relationships (including all remuneration)
  • types of securities the adviser advises on.
Disclosure statements must be kept up-to-date and must not be deceptive, misleading or confusing. The new rules also beef up the Securities Commission powers. It will now police investment advertising and, if necessary, censure advisers and brokers for misleading advertisements, Dalziel said.

The rules around what is advertising are wide and includes newsletters, seminar presentations, paid advertising in newspapers, TV, or radio, and radio and TV broadcasts containing investment advice or promoting securities.

« More MFS troubleSovereign takes regulation bull by the horns »

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