Sovereign takes regulation bull by the horns

SovNet announced yesterday that all of its business development managers are becoming authorised, it will pay fees for advisers to become authorised, it has nominated a Dispute Resolution Provider and it is automating the six-step process with SovNet X-Plan.


by Jenha White

At the SovNet conference the general manager of adviser distribution Adrian Riminton told advisers that they need to make a call as to whether they will get authorised and if so jump on board.

"Our message to you is that if you want to continue to be successful and a leader in this profession then we will help you. We will do everything in this process that we can short of giving you the answers."

Advisers wanting to become Authorised Financial Advisers (AFA's) under the Financial Advisers Act 2008 have to either graduate with a National Certificate in Financial Services (Financial Advice) (Level 5) (NCFS-5) or achieve the equivalent educational outcome by December.

Riminton announced that to ensure SovNet has the best business development manager (BDM) support for advisers as they go through the regulation process, all of its BDMs are becoming authorised.

Most have undertaken and completed the first two units of Standard Set A through the Open Polytechnic.

"These guys have been through the process of registering for the course, they have seen the materials, they have been through the online assessment process, they know how it works.

"That means when you go through the process your BDM will understand what you're going through because they've been there," says Riminton.

It was also announced yesterday that SovNet will pay for its advisers to get the National Certificate in Financial Services in an exclusive deal with the Open Polytechnic.

The estimated cost for the certificate is $1400 and SovNet has said it will pay 100% which means the cost to SovNet could be around $700,000.

"It will cost you nothing but your blood sweat and your tears," says Riminton.

Advisers will pay 50% of the education fee initially, which Sovereign will reimburse once the adviser has completed their education and training, assuming they are a validated SovNet adviser as at 31 March next year.

SovNet has also nominated the Insurance & Savings Ombudsmen (ISO) as its preferred Disputes Resolution Provider.

It says the ISO has been doing business since 1995 and since then has handled 34,000 complaints and knows the industry back to front.

"This is a huge feather in your cap, when you go to register you can nominate the ISO knowing it is an established organisation and one your clients will have a large degree of confidence in."

SovNet has organised a preferential pricing structure with the ISO which includes no joining fee, an annual membership of $300 + GST, and $1000 fee per complaint.

The final response to regulation it announced was the introduction of a best practice advice process which it built based on the six-step process mandated in the Code.

"In consultation with ETITO we have developed a number of templates which we have ensured are completely integrated with the SovNet X-Plan platform.

"Over the next couple of weeks we will further develop the best practice advice process to ensure it complies with requirements and to ensure functionality is fully maximised so you can draw info out of your database into the templates so that you have an automated report generator."


Jenha is a TPL staff reporter.

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Comments from our readers

On 22 April 2010 at 7:54 am Call me cynical said:
and all you have to do is ignore the first AFA code principal in your product recomendations for the next few years...
On 22 April 2010 at 1:07 pm Pat said:
What's the plan for the SovNeters that don't become AFAs? Will they just be given some sort of basic order-taker template to follow.
On 23 April 2010 at 6:11 pm Barry Milner said:
Sovereign are hardly worthy of praise for their late move towards adviser education/qualification. For the last two years or more Sovereign have been telling advisers to "do nothing, we don't know what is required", whilst at the same time AXA was being pro-active in the area of adviser education and most of us who listened to their advice are at least 75% through the process and will comfortably reach Level 5 before the deadline unlike Sovnet advisers who will struggle to achieve in the time available. Oh and by the way AXA paid our fees too.
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