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Ministry needs to better understand disputes schemes: FSCL

If financial advisers think that disputes about their work are going to go away and the four external resolution schemes will disappear, then they are mistaken.

Tuesday, May 19th 2015, 7:13AM 5 Comments

Financial Services Complaints chief executive Susan Taylor says many advisers maybe thinking, or hoping, that there won’t necessarily be a long road ahead for the schemes because consumers will be so happy with the services provided there won’t be any complaints nor any reason for disputes resoltion schemes’ continued existence.

“Unfortunately, much as I would like to, I don’t share that optimism, she said in a presentation at the FSCL conferene last week.

Since FSCL started nearly five years ago it has formally investigated more than 600 cases and has handled more than 7400 complaints and enquiries.

“These figures demonstrate a demand and need for our services.”

She says there will always be some complaints that cannot be resolved and that will need, or benefit, from an independent, expert third party helping to mediate or determine an outcome.

She also thinks the regulators and government agencies should recognise the good work the schemes do.

“I confess that I wonder if the Ministry has ever come to grips with the usefulness of dispute resolution. 

“Our approach has always been that the blunt instrument of threats of fines or imprisonment is not the best way to improve service delivery in the financial services sector. Rather analysis by a body familiar with the issues – a body which can satisfy the consumer and assist the financial service provider - is a better solution.” 

The Act governing the schemes will be part of the review of the Financial Advisers Act this year, and the question of whether there should be four schemes or fewer will come up.
Taylor says FSCL is doing a good job delivering its services.

“Our record of annual fee reductions for the past two years speaks of our efficiency.

“We consider ourselves to outperform all other schemes (in the key areas). We will continue to seek even further improvement in our services, and the way we deliver them.”

Dispute resolution schemes have an important role to play in markets, she said.

"We are not a regulator, so we genuinely want to work with financial service providers to improve services. Falling short of the standards required will have consequences, but we are only interested in compensation, not penalty. 

"It is important that the industry shows the regulator and the legislature, that financial service providers and disputes resolution schemes have the capacity to maintain standards and consumer confidence without further state intervention and regulation."

Tags: disputes Financial Advisers Act FSCL

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Comments from our readers

On 19 May 2015 at 1:50 pm Majella said:
I have been the subject of a complaint, which was handled by FSCL. Their service was exemplary. They recognised the vexatious nature of the complaint & the complainant's attitude. My case officer was invaluable in getting the process to a reasonable and satisfactory resolution.

However, I have also been on the other side, having found TWO separate cases of egregious behaviour by other advisers, in both cases costing their clients substantial amounts of money (both in excess of $5,000).

However, in both cases, they are extremely reluctant to pursue a complaint because they have trepidation about becoming involved in a long and tortuous process of which they have little or no understanding.

So, ironically, those with some understanding of how they have been wronged (and the vexatious complainants) will come forward, while a large number of people, with legitimate grievance, never will.

In one of the cases, I took the complaint to the FMA (the adviser is an AFA and had made 4 identifiable breaches of the Code) but the FMA is unwilling to pursue it without a complaint from the affected party. Why can a 'whistle blower'not get any traction or action from the Institution charged with policing the FAA? Not even a 'please explain' letter?

It seems that the shonky ones will keep getting away with unacceptable behaviour and the FMA doesn't really give a toss.
On 19 May 2015 at 8:30 pm fedupadviser said:
I realise that under the code we are to dob each other in. But for goodness sake my opinion of another advisers work is usually going to be less than my own work - if you are so concerned for your clients why don't you talk to the other adviser.
It is usually wise I find to have both sides of the story - quite often you find clients memory is different to the facts in a file - lets talk to each other instead of slagging off each others work to clients!
On 20 May 2015 at 8:48 am billy the broker said:
Some brokers out there think they are above this kind of investigation with their pure arrogance that they write substantial amounts of business. I myself have had a case recently when a said broker totally misrepresented a client which you could only call commission generation as opposed to the clients best interests. When the FMA was contacted, it was proved just to difficult to get any headway as client was just pointed back to the broker. With whom they didnt want any contact. Then the broker contacts client and degenerates her current broker with foul language when he loses his business. Very professional I may say!! And to think this guy holds a reasonably high position in the industry. And for the record what he did, attempted to replace a level premium contract that had been running for over a decade with a YRT and total lack of disclosure to the client regarding this!!The disturbing thing is, is that this insurance agent(and I use the term loosely)is training the people in his little family business the same values,so we are just going to get a repeat of this commission based sales strategy and healthy vibrant clients who are believers in insurance will be the casualties yet again. And our jolly friendly broker gets a pat on the back for who he is writing for at the moment!!Majella is right there are to many incompetents out there classing themselves as advisers.Wonder when the hierarchy will see light from the clouds???
On 20 May 2015 at 12:54 pm Majella said:
Hi Fed-Up: I actually agree with you. IN both cases, I tried to talk to the advisers - e-mail & phone calls - but not surprisingly, neither of them elected to engage with me.
In both cases, I explained to the clients what was wrong and what it would take to fix it, in once case working with the existing policy.

The case that has been taken to the FMA was this:
1)I'd gone through a 3-month long advice /recommendation/implementation process, that replaced an inadequate policy that was significantly over-priced to boot.
On 20 May 2015 at 12:58 pm Majella said:
Hi Fed-Up: I actually agree with you. IN both cases, I tried to talk to the advisers - e-mail & phone calls - but not surprisingly, neither of them elected to engage with me.
In both cases, I explained to the clients what was wrong and what it would take to fix it, in once case working with the existing policy.

The case that has been taken to the FMA was this:
1)I'd gone through a 3-month long advice /recommendation/implementation process, that replaced an inadequate policy that was significantly over-priced to boot.
2) once the cancellation was notified to the adviser, he shows up (despite being told not to) and told 2 bald-faced lies - one, that the new policy was not yet in force and therefore the clients had had NO cover for several weeks, and that the new insurance company was unreliable and likely to fail.
3) as it turned out, he'd BOUGHT the policy in a book of business and had never serviced or even contacted these people.
4) He then advised then to re-instate the cancelled policy, but did not enter into (let alone complete) any form of engagement of scope of service, nor any information about their circumstances.
4)He also did not

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