Regulation poses relevancy challenges for professional bodies

The increasingly regulated financial environment presents a challenge to professional adviser bodies to prove their value to advisers, according to Institute of Financial Advisers (IFA) president Nigel Tate.

Friday, November 4th 2011, 7:09AM 3 Comments

by Benn Bathgate

Speaking from Washington where he is attending the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) meeting Tate said groups such as the IFA were facing similar issues to peers worldwide.

"A lot of it's around the value of professional bodies, what we're adding," he said.

 "In most cases we've found the professional bodies globally have released their intellectual property to the regulators and in turn of course have lost a large portion of members who are saying OK, we've met the required minimum standard, why do I need to do anything else?

"We're slowly but surely coming to the conclusion globally that it's good to help the regulators but we need to recognise the costs incurred, and then deal with that in terms of providing reasons to remain members of a professional body."

Professional Advisers Association (PAA) chief executive Edward Richards said that in the main, he agreed with Tate.

"I don't disagree that the Government regulators take industry standards and practices, codes of practice, and incorporate them into legislation then claim it as their own patch, at a bigger picture level he's right," he said.

On the whole however, Edwards believes professional bodies actually have greater relevance in a more regulated world.

 "Certainly the PAA has had more contact with the FMA than we had with its predecessor the Securities Commission, because we are working together quite explicitly to help the levels of compliance and good advice and financial literacy in the marketplace," he said.

He also said bodies such as the PAA, IFA and FAANZ can play a significant role in providing independent comment on regulatory policy changes as well as providing a lobbying platform for advisers.

Benn Bathgate is a business reporter for ASSET and Good Returns, email story ideas to benn@goodreturns.co.nz

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Comments from our readers

On 4 November 2011 at 1:18 pm Amused said:
A timely article indeed with the NZMBA wanting to merge with the PAA. If you don’t think your professional body/association is providing you and your business with "value for money" with regulation now in force then there is no point in continuing your membership. Clients could care less from my experience which professional body if any you belong to. As always it’s your reputation and abilities as an adviser that will determine whether clients engage your services, NOT the association membership certificate hanging on your office wall or displayed on your business cards.
On 5 November 2011 at 1:24 pm John Bates said:
This sends me back to a conversation I witnessed between the President of the Financial Plannning Assocation and the head of one of the banks financial planning arms.

The FPA president was lobbying the bank to make membership of the FPA a bank requirement for their advisers because it would "improve the credibility' of the bank advisers.

The banker offered to walk down one side of Queen Street with the FPA's logo and ask people to tell him what it was if the president of the FPA would walk down the other side of the street with the bank logo and do the same.

I don't think the walk ever happened
On 6 November 2011 at 5:34 pm Independent Observer said:
I agree with 'Amused' that all participants involved in the financial services industry need to demonstrate how they add value.

As the only "club" to belong to is called the "regulator", I suspect that many industry bodies will need to figure out what their enhanced offering is, to retain & attract new members.
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