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Advisers return to MDRT

MDRT membership in New Zealand is almost back to pre-Global Financial Crisis levels, driven by advisers seeking skills-oriented professional development, its country chair says.

Thursday, October 9th 2014, 5:59AM

by Susan Edmunds

For the 2014 financial year, there were 55 members of MDRT in New Zealand, up from 42 in 2011 and from the five-year average of 45.8.

Peak membership was in 2003, when there were 101 members.

MDRT is a worldwide organisation for financial services professionals, which offers resources to improve their technical knowledge, sales and client service. Members must meet ethical standards.

MDRT New Zealand country chair Warren Stephens said growth in membership numbers had been very good.

To qualify, advisers must earn $145,300 in eligible commissions, of which half must come from unlimited credit or risk-protection products from life insurance companies, such as accidental death, critical illness, disability, long-term care, life and annuities.

Stephens said: “With $75,000 API you could become a qualifying member.”

Members were a mix of AFAs and RFAs, he said, but most members were RFAs.

“It appeals to those who want to be recognised for membership of an elite organisation worldwide," he said.

Stephens said advisers were seeking different opportunities after navigating through several years of regulation.

“People are looking for a solution that is skills-based, they’re focused on enhancing their own practical skills. Regulation has been such a burden on a lot of people, the focus has been on getting your level five and so on, it’s distracted advisers from enhancing their own skill sets.”

He said MDRT was a way to counteract that, with a focus on the adviser and their technique. “It’s about enhancing all the skills, with no mention of product.”

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