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Advisers get guarded thumbs up on disclosure

The Securities Commission has given a guarded thumbs up to the way financial advisers are adapting to the February 29 disclosure rules.

Friday, August 29th 2008, 10:18AM
Commission senior counsel Liam Mason told a Conferenz securities law conference in Wellington that although there are some areas which need tidying up, the commission is pleased with the way the new regime has bedded in.

The commission had not been optimistic: A survey of advisers in mid-2007 had shown a very low awareness of what the new rules would mean.

"But the quality of disclosure is actually quite good," Mason says.

Areas requiring more work are the depth of disclosure in some areas, with professional indemnity insurance being the most difficult.

"The new law says it needs to be disclosed – not only that it is there, but the nature and scope of that insurance.

"Quite reasonably, I think some advisers have had trouble working out how far 'nature and scope' goes," Mason says.

Insurers themselves are against the level of insurance to be disclosed, as it would increase the risks of claims to the maximum level of that insurance. The commission is working with advisers and insurers to find a workable level of disclosure, he says.

Other areas of confusion are the levels of remuneration and where and when that is disclosed to consumers.

"Some full service firms said they didn't want to have to provide a telephone book of disclosure early in the advice process before they even know what they're advising about. In the event some still seem to have taken that choice of disclosing large volumes of material up-front. That's up to them, I suppose, but there may be easier ways of doing it."

Other issues include signage – some adviser firms have been concerned about having to take advertising signs down, but Mason says the commission is interpreting the rules as only applying to new signs.

« ‘No slow down’ on adviser rules: DalzielSovereign takes regulation bull by the horns »

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