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Opinion: Newpark, Naomi and Us

Naomi Ballantyne talks about independence and two of her roles; that is as a director of Newpark and managing director of Us Advice.

Wednesday, May 12th 2010, 5:09PM 2 Comments

by Naomi Ballantyne

The world we work in is changing rapidly and many in the industry are feeling a little confused and possibly even scared about what the future might hold for them personally.

Couple that with an apparent ‘turf' war between adviser groups and, more recently product providers themselves, where the battle is being fought for the loyalty of the existing pool of advisers.

While the ‘protection' and incentives being offered by some of these parties might seem attractive and easy, there can be a significant price to pay for these outcomes.

The market is poised to divide along a very clear line.  Those who can and do offer consumers comprehensive advice about their individual needs and can offer advice around the products that will best meet those needs, versus those who can only offer advice that is tailored to a predetermined product selection.  That much touted word ‘independence' is set to become a key difference.

The road to becoming, or remaining, independent might not be the easiest one on offer, but it most definitely will create a competitive advantage for those who continue to walk it.  For anyone who has spent even a few minutes explaining the difference between an aligned adviser and an independent one to a consumer, you will know how easy it is to explain the value of independence.

Newpark is working hard to make the training and regulatory path as easy as possible for their advisers to ensure they can retain their independence.  Newpark's goal is to ensure its advisers can continue to deliver the most robust advice, the widest product choice and the strongest advocacy to their customers well into the future.  

This commitment to independence is the key reason why a position on the Newpark board is so attractive to me.  Working with Darren and the board at Newpark over the past six months has given me a unique insight into the huge commitment they have made and continue to make towards guiding (and chiding where needed) a large group of independent advisers through the processes required to meet the requirements of the new regulatory regime.

It would be easier (and possibly even more lucrative) to simply allow their independence to be bought in exchange for absolving themselves of this commitment, but Newpark has put its  stake firmly in the ground with an unwavering belief that the best outcome for the customer will come from an adviser who is free to offer them choice.

This philosophy is something that I have also been passionate about for many years so it is no surprise that independence, choice and advocacy are also the cornerstones of my new advice company, Us Advice.

As a nationwide financial services advice company employing and training a large number of brand new recruits into the industry, Us Advice has also had to build significant infrastructure to enable us to not only meet the new regulatory requirements but to actually create a new benchmark for the delivery of high quality advice and advocacy to our clients in the process.

It is no coincidence then that the two advisory businesses I am currently involved with, Newpark and Us Advice, while operating completely separately, share a kinship that comes from shared values and beliefs.  With Us Advice specialising in the family market, it is also good to know that any business contacts can be referred to other independently minded advisers, like those within the Newpark group.  Newpark also seems like a logical home for my recruits over time as they gain experience and potentially choose to become independent advisers in their own right - providing potential exit strategies for retiring advisers while ensuring a steady supply of well trained, new advisers into the industry.

I am very excited about the future for Us Advice, I am delighted to be of service to the Newpark board and I am especially pleased that the Newpark team have embraced my involvement in Us Advice as complementary to the goals of their business. 

Two strong businesses championing independent advice and advocacy, for the benefit of consumers - what more could a girl ask for?

Naomi Ballantyne is a director at Newpark Financial Services and managing director Us Advice.


Naomi Ballantyne ONZM, is the Managing Director at Partners Life.

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Comments from our readers

On 14 May 2010 at 4:29 pm NO BULL said:
Naomi might be best to read the draft code. No AFA will be able to say they are independent in the new world from 6/12/2010. Most producer groups are funded by over rides from a life company. Therefore they not independent.
On 18 May 2010 at 5:15 pm Ole Git said:
Well said No BULL - Naomi would also do well to make sure she complied with other legalities such as the advisers disclosure requirements - no where can you find on her website any reference to a disclosure being available on request free of charge. Naughty - naughty - you'd think she would know better.
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