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Christmas Greetings (and more)

Friday, December 24th 2010, 8:38AM 6 Comments

by Philip Macalister

Well the year is nearly over and what a year. Thinking back to this time 12 months ago I am sure none of use would have thought it would pan out as it has. Regulation has been the overarching theme of the year with its many twists and turns. Its uncertainty and its distraction from the real business – helping clients. The great recovery hasn’t happened in New Zealand. Businesses have found it tough and markets have been less than welcoming. The international markets, too, have been a mess. I just need to mention names like Greece and Ireland to trigger groans. Perhaps a bright spot has been in the life insurance world. This part of our industry has done well, especially in the months before tax changes to life products. Mortgage broking has had it tough. The year has ended with a finance company feeding frenzy of regulator activity. It seems the authorities are trying to do a bit of catch up in this area after sitting on their hands for years. Some of their activity, like freezing Mark Hotchin’s assets is quite unsettling. As is the media lynch mob who don’t seem to care about facts or fairness. (Or the real crooks of the finance company world). What’s in store for next year? Who knows? And who would be prepared to make too many predictions? No doubt the regulatory train will keep rolling along. There will be some interesting corporate activity and the groupings of advisers will continue to become greater centres of influence. Good Returns will be working hard to bring you the news. While it is the holidays the site will continue to be updated over the next couple of weeks. From all the team at Good Returns I would like to offer you a safe, happy and relaxing Christmas break.
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Comments from our readers

On 24 December 2010 at 9:30 am ELongman said:
What hotchins not a crook realy?
On 24 December 2010 at 10:02 am Philip said:
I don't know. We haven't seen the evidence and I always understood a foundation of our legal system was innocent until proven guilty.
The actions of the Securities Commission and media lynch mobs (notably the Herald and Hickey) hardly give the guy justice.
Let making it clear I am not making any judgment on Hotchin or whateverh happened at Hanover. That's a job for the justice system.
Remember no charges have (yet) been laid against Hotchin.
And it's fascinating to put this into some broader perspective including MED's case against the Feltex directors.
On 26 December 2010 at 11:52 am David Whyte said:
Now, now Philip - perhaps a bit liverish after Christmas?
Hickey's article majored on suggesting that sectors of the media had caught the mood of the public in attacking Hotchin and concluded that the courts are the best place to deliver the appropriate justice. What astounds me is that after sitting in Countrywide Bank's Investment Services offices in 1988 listening to similar stories refered to in Hickey's article, here we are 22 years later reading the same tales from different unfortunate souls who have suffered dreadfully from exposure to the NZ financial services industry.
Knee-jerk response to regulate advisers ignores a systemic weakness in the Organisation & Management of New Zealand Ltd. At government level, our employees in Wellington are just too feeble-minded to be able to prevent financial calamities recurring. As long as the systemic non-disclosure at product provider level is allowed to continue, I suspect we'll be reading more stories about more poor souls rorted by yet another scam blithely ignored by politicians and regulators alike.

And "innocent until proven guilty"? Tell that to Vance Arkinstall!!

Happy holidays!
On 6 January 2011 at 12:41 pm James Nesbitt said:
I cnat understand why Watson is not in the same boat - of course what they did after the business got into trouble may well have been to get the best back for their investors - as long as it dod not cost them the hard earned money they stole - er payed themselves from the funds. why is anyone trying to defend the indifensible - these guys paid themselves 10's of millions of dollars in fees from a shrinking fund! its outrageous that they can. And this is the problem with the NZ financial sector - people can do whatever they want. The whole sector from the banks down needs to be much more heavily regulated than it currently is - this would actually give investors something other than housing to look at for investments.
On 6 January 2011 at 6:06 pm jacob wolt said:
What about transparency? I have been in this industry since 1986 and the overarching theme has and continues to be lack of transparency. Why don't we all just tell the truth? If an adviser takes commissions, soft dollars/has a vested interest and/or has quotas they need to be be upfront about obfuscation. There's no point in waiting for's far smarter to be proactive....even put the client first...scary thought for some....that should be the focus of all advisers in 2011...perhaps then the industry will begin to gain some credibility in the eyes of the public. It's time to raise the bar beyond what regulation expects if we are ever to get credibility...and, based on my observations, that maybe some years away
On 7 January 2011 at 10:01 am David Whyte said:
Well said Jacob! For transparency, I used the term non-disclosure - amounts to the same point, but it's not just at adviser level that the transparency needs to exist. The institutions which are freely allowed to develop products and operate without adequate supervision need to be more accountable. No apologies if this stands on the toes of the Freedmanite free-marketers. Acts of deception and deliberate obfuscation (good word!) endorsed and institutionalised by ineffective regulations should be consistently, quickly, and severely dealt with BEFORE they impact the consumer. Like you, I remain sceptical over the appetite in Wellington to see effective governance mandated in the financial services sector. Whatever complaints emanate from Australia, their industry is considerably better for the imposition of their regulatory regime - across all stakeholders, not just advisers.
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