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Separate adviser authorisation opposed

Creating separate categories and qualification requirements for Authorised Financial Advisers depending on their specialisation would be a backward step, industry representatives say.

Thursday, February 21st 2013, 6:00AM 5 Comments

by Niko Kloeten

A recent survey showed support for registered financial advisers having to be qualified. That prompted suggestions that there should be different qualifications for different types of advice, such as mortgage, investment and insurance.

But Professional Advisers Association chairman Peter Leitch said that would not be helpful.

He said the most important thing was the skill, knowledge and competence of individual advisers.

“I don’t think it’s relevant whether they are an AFA or an RFA as long as they are skilled in what they are advising on.”

Institute of Financial Adivsers president Nigel Tate also did not support the idea.

 “I don’t believe it’s good for consumers because there’s so much inter-relationship between mortgage advice, risk advice and financial planning advice,” he said.

“If that process was initiated I would be an authorised insurance adviser, an authorised mortgage adviser and an authorised investment adviser.”

But Tate said it was likely that at some point all advisers would have to meet some sort of minimum qualification to operate in the industry.

“It will mean there’s no difference in having the two different brands; whether they are called AFAs or RFAs is irrelevant in my view.”

Niko Kloeten can be contacted at

« AFAs unhappy with regulationLeitch: FMA looks set to crack down »

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Comments from our readers

On 21 February 2013 at 10:17 am w k said:
@nigel. If qualified to service more than one of the services, who would be stupid enough to put "an authorised life insurance adviser, an authroised mortgage adviser, and an authorised general insurance adviser".

Would not "life & general insurance and mortgage adviser or broker" be enough? compared with just RFA, at one glance on the name card, which one do you think prospects have a better idea of what you are doing?

No wonder the insurance and investment industry is in such a sad state, and we are not highly regarded. sigh!
On 21 February 2013 at 10:45 am w k said:
@peter. Not sure how having separate category will take the industry backwards? doctors state their area of specialisation - cardiologist, neurologist, orthopedic surgeon, anaesthetist, etc, lawyers do that too, and that haven't made them backwards, have it? How would stating one area of expertise be stepping backwards? Just in case you are not aware, in the general insurance industry, it is common for their reps to put their area of specialisation on their name cards - liability, marine & hull, commercial, etc.
On 23 February 2013 at 9:50 am David Whyte said:
Agree entirely. Actuaries specialise in valuation or pricing, lawyers - commercial or criminal. Specialisation and developing extended expertise in a specific financial services area makes good sense. Nobody would rely on a GP for a cardiac operation - you would seek out the services of a cardiac specialist, no? This doesn't imply a separate specialist adviser representative body - only that the specialist is recognised as having advanced expertise in his/her chosen area. Makes perfect sense.
On 25 February 2013 at 11:45 am oldtimer said:
I totally agree with wk & David.
I find it incredible that the leaders of 2 of the supposedly "professional bodies" oppose a suggestion that clarifies the situation for Jo Public, especially when the term "Financial Adviser" is so generic and cover such a multitude of disciplines that it is virtually meaningless to the public.
It might be understood by both Peter & Nigel but they are steeped in an 'industry' which is renowned for overuse of jargon to the detriment of clarity.
On 25 February 2013 at 7:25 pm w k said:
Thanks for your support guys. I sometimes wonder, what's the hidden agenda? Sick to the core and just can't wait for my other biz to grow (hope within 2 years) and get out of the financial industry.

I want to clarify that I am all for regulation to have some standards in the industry and weed out the cowboys, but didn't expect this.

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