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Quest to be the biggest and the best

Thursday, March 20th 2008, 8:50AM 1 Comment

by Philip Macalister

The announcement last week of a strategic alliance between the IFA and the NZ Mortgage Brokers Association was both unexpected and fascinating. At a high level one must congratulate two adviser associations for working together. But, and there is always a but, it begs some questions. The most obvious is, was this alliance done for the right reasons? Or was it done for political purposes? There is a whiff of political purpose around this. Why? The Professional Advisers Association (PAA) has been quite open about its desire to grow its membership. It has suggested to life advisers within the IFA that it is the natural home for them, and currently it is running a series of roadshows offering mortgage brokers an alternative home. One way for the IFA and NZMBA to neutralise the PAA was to form an alliance. To me it was a surprise, considering some of the events and comments of recent years. A view I have expressed previously is that if two associations were to combine, the most obvious was the PAA and NZMBA. I believe life insurance and mortgage broking are more closely aligned disciplines than investment and either of the others. However, I am aware of significant tension between the PAA and NZMBA which is proving difficult to release. The other obvious alliance was the PAA and the Life Brokers Association (LBA), however the IFA successful scuttled that last year. All this leads me to the following conclusion. Competition between associations in the quest to be the biggest adviser association is counter-productive. I believe the government should review its approach to adviser regulation and move away from the idea of having multiple Approved Professional Bodies. There should be just one for all advisers. The government – or an agency like the Securities Commission – should set it up with help from all adviser associations, and then it should be left to the industry to run. Under the current model there will be multiple bodies, that isn't cost-effective, doesn't build uniform standards in the industry and is counterproductive. Plenty of other industries and professions have just one licensing body, why can't the same rules apply in financial advice?
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Comments from our readers

On 20 March 2008 at 11:11 am John Walker said:
Finally Dave McMillian must be laughing at this because whenever your competitors start teaming up like this in a sham 'alliance' without any substance you've beaten them.

If they haven't been able to beat you on their own; there's no way they'll do it together especially with the egos running the IFA and NZMBA.

The 'alliance' was done because both organisations are facing falling membership numbers and see the PAA making gains at their expense.

NZMBA faces significant problems with membership shrinkage this year with many brokers exiting the industry due to tougher lending conditions and shrinking commissions. The NZMBA has zero influence on these factors.

For an organisation with relatively high fixed costs (salaries, rent) the prospect of losing another 100 - 150 to the PAA

More correctly have them fail to re-up, as the PAA seems to be focussing on people with multiple memberships.

The PAA have lender support, significant member benefits, no additional 'advertising levies' and a less prescriptive approach to most things.

http://www.paa.co.nz/component/option,com_remository/Itemid,121/func,fileinfo/id,87/

It looks like an easy decision for people paying subs to both the PAA and the NZMBA to drop one and I can't' see what the' alliance' will do to make the decision go NZMBA's way.

The IFA don't really bring anything to the table except a press release and I understand they have their own problems retaining members.

As for the idea of a G5 there is no way the IFA and the NZMBA will cross the finishing line with the rest of the G4 (or even together) without the Securities Commission or government forcing them to

The IFA's solution to falling membership numbers is to become an APB by themselves and pick up members following the PAA's idea.

Why belong to two organisations when you can belong to one?
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ANZ Special - 3.55 3.45 3.99
ASB Bank 5.20 4.05 3.95 4.39
ASB Bank Special - 3.55 3.45 3.89
BNZ - Classic - 3.55 3.45 3.99
BNZ - Mortgage One 5.90 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 5.35 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 5.30 4.45 4.35 4.55
BNZ - TotalMoney 5.30 - - -
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China Construction Bank Special - 3.19 3.19 3.19
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Credit Union Baywide 6.15 4.95 4.95 -
Credit Union North 6.45 - - -
Credit Union South 6.45 - - -
Finance Direct - - - -
First Credit Union 5.85 3.99 4.49 -
Heartland 6.70 7.00 7.25 7.85
Heartland Bank - Online - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 5.75 4.80 4.95 -
HSBC Premier 5.24 3.35 3.35 3.35
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 5.15 3.18 3.18 3.20
Kainga Ora 5.18 4.04 3.95 4.39
Kiwibank 5.80 ▼4.14 ▲4.30 4.64
Kiwibank - Capped - - - -
Kiwibank - Offset 5.15 - - -
Kiwibank Special - ▼3.39 ▲3.55 3.89
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Napier Building Society - - - -
Nelson Building Society 5.70 4.25 4.15 -
Pepper Money Near Prime 5.64 - 5.44 5.44
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Pepper Money Prime 5.18 - 4.98 4.98
Pepper Money Specialist 7.59 - 7.39 7.39
Resimac 4.50 4.86 3.89 3.94
RESIMAC Special - - - -
SBS Bank 5.29 4.85 5.05 5.49
SBS Bank Special - 3.55 3.39 3.89
Sovereign 5.30 4.15 4.29 4.55
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The Co-operative Bank - Standard 5.15 3.99 4.09 4.39
TSB Bank 6.09 4.35 4.25 4.69
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
TSB Special 5.29 3.55 3.45 3.89
Wairarapa Building Society 5.70 4.85 4.99 -
Westpac 5.34 4.15 4.09 4.49
Westpac - Offset 5.34 - - -
Westpac Special - 3.55 3.45 3.99
Median 5.34 4.04 4.09 4.39

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