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The people who have influenced advisers the most this year

As the year draws to an end it's useful to reflect on some of the names which have shaped the advisory industry. Here's my list of the most influential people. Who would you nominate.

Monday, December 29th 2014, 9:34PM 2 Comments

by Philip Macalister

You'd have to say he left it till a run late in the year, but arguably the most influential person on the advice world this year was Financial Market Authority chief executive Rob Everett.

For much of the year we heard little from him, but in the past couple of months he has had a more public profile and we have learnt a lot more about his views on advisers and regulation. 

I have said before that I believe advisers have an ally with Everett, but be warned while he supports advisers not everything he, or more correctly the FMA does, will win favour with advisers.

One of the biggest criticisms I have, and he knows this, is that the FMA has still not learnt how to communicate effectively with advisers and stakeholders in this sector. There have been some pretty bad episodes this year which have infuriated advisers.

This, maybe, is why we have seen Everett front a number of things recently, rather than some of his senior executives.

It appears that under Everett's leadership the FMA is prepared to listen to what advisers say and take their views on board when making decisions. The important things here are that advisers have a voice and it is united (as much as possible).

While Everett has started to hit his straps there are two people on the other side of the regulatory debate which have been mightily influential on things this year. These two are Murray Weatherston and Robert Oddy who have taken on a role in SiFA to argue the case of advisers. These two IFAs have contributed a huge amount of time and effort into lobbying and putting the case for advisers while running their own businesses.

The best example of what these two are doing comes by attending SiFA conferences where they discuss regulatory issues. 

For a little organisation SiFA punches well above its weight.

An honourable mention has to go to new IFA chief executive Fred Dodds. His appointment to the role was one of the best things for the Institute and a guy with the knowledge and skills of Dodds are long-overdue.  Dodds can connect with members and help the organisation reinvigorate itself.

In the investment product space it's hard to go past my old mate Ralph Stewart. The commitment (and money) he has put in to build his variable annuities business, NZ Income Guarantee, has to be admired. Here is a guy trying launch a whole new product set in New Zealand - and a product which is sorely needed.  My bet is that many organisations will piggy-back off the work he has done, which includes getting the Reserve Bank to write a whole new set of standards. Stewart has also been pretty active in other areas of the industry including transactions around various funds management and financial planning firms.

Insurance is a tricky space to name names, but the ones which I'd put forward would be Naomi Ballantyne at Partners Life and Milton Jennings at Fidelity Life. It is hard to go past Partners and the volume of new business it writes, along with its product innovation. Likewise, Fidelity goes from strength to strength supporting advisers.  

Next year is going to be interesting. Asteron continues to do good things, one of the big players has had a year of putting its house-in-order (their words) and AIA looks like it wants to be more active and engaged with advisers.

In the mortgage world it is a slam dunk to Westpac and the bank's new Head of Third Party Banking Kylie Kneale. Kneale and her team have won the support of the bank's executive to reintroduce trail commission for mortgage advisers.

While trails make the headline what is most important is that the bank is changing its relationship with advisers to being one a partnership, rather than just source of new business. While we are still to, officially, see any numbers Good Returns understands Westpac has got off to a flying start and is picking up more market share. It appears mortgage advisers are keen on Westpac, as trails help build value in their business, and ANZ which is still offering a generous upfront commission. Meanwhile ASB is loosing out. 

Interestingly enough our story on Westpac's trail commissions was one of the biggest this year.

Those are my picks. Did I get them right? Who would you nominate? Leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

« NZIG awaits purchase approvalIFA working on pro-bono offering »

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Comments from our readers

On 31 December 2014 at 8:41 am billy the broker said:
Partners Life "volumes of new business"!! Like the Tui advert "yea right!"
On 2 January 2015 at 9:02 am NormanStacey said:
Philip:
A good list, & the order looks about right (I am not familiar with insurance of mortgages).
Noble prizes deserved by Murray Weatherston & Robert Oddy. Notably, they are volunteers, giving comprehensively of their own time, and at costs to their respective businesses - rather than simply doing their jobs.
Nobel Prizes due.
HNY

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Full Rates Table | Compare Rates

Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
ANZ 5.19 4.15 4.09 4.49
ANZ Special - 3.65 3.59 3.99
ASB Bank 5.20 4.15 4.09 4.39
ASB Bank Special - 3.65 3.59 3.89
BNZ - Classic - 3.65 ▼3.54 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 - - -
China Construction Bank 5.50 4.70 4.80 4.95
China Construction Bank Special - 3.19 3.19 3.19
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Credit Union Auckland 5.95 - - -
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 - - -
Heartland 6.70 7.00 7.25 7.85
Heartland Bank - Online - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 5.75 4.80 4.95 -
Housing NZ Corp 5.19 ▼4.15 ▼4.09 ▼4.39
HSBC Premier 5.24 3.35 3.35 3.35
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 5.65 3.85 3.95 3.89
Kiwibank 5.80 4.30 4.34 4.74
Kiwibank - Capped - - - -
Kiwibank - Offset 5.15 - - -
Kiwibank Special - 3.55 3.59 3.99
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Napier Building Society - - - -
Nelson Building Society 5.70 4.69 4.79 -
Resimac 5.30 4.86 4.14 4.19
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
RESIMAC Special - - - -
SBS Bank 5.29 4.85 5.05 5.49
SBS Bank Special - 3.69 3.69 3.99
Sovereign 5.30 4.15 4.29 4.55
Sovereign Special - 3.65 3.75 4.05
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 5.15 3.65 3.59 3.99
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 5.15 4.15 4.09 4.49
TSB Bank 6.09 4.65 4.59 4.85
TSB Special 5.29 3.85 3.79 4.05
Wairarapa Building Society 5.70 4.85 4.99 -
Westpac 5.34 4.15 4.09 4.49
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Westpac - Offset 5.34 - - -
Westpac Special - 3.65 3.59 3.99
Median 5.35 4.15 4.09 4.19

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