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Advisers may miss their chance: Cortesi

Many financial advisers are not taking the review of the Financial Advisers Act seriously enough, the president of the PAA says.

Tuesday, July 7th 2015, 6:00AM 1 Comment

by Susan Edmunds

The association has announced it is holding a summit this month, on the accessibility of advice.

The summit will be a forum for discussion and development of recommendations for the FAA review across a number of areas, including closing the gap between expected behaviour and practice standards for all advisers, commission practices, replacement business, and the standards that apply to QFE staff.

PAA president Bruce Cortesi said the industry seemed to be stuck on some of the smaller issues that the review was seeking to address, and not considering the bigger picture. "The point is improving access to personalised and professional financial advice."

He said he was deeply concerned that the industry would not participate as fully as it could. Much of the communication about the review had presented it as being less relevant and important than it really was, he said.

"Advisers are very passive about the whole thing. It hasn't been impressed on them that they need to take responsibility for the industry they are working in, and contribute to its future."

They would need to realise that it was a much bigger conversation than merely discussing whether adviser designations were appropriate, he said. "Unless advisers are told they need to get involved, it's your future and the future of other generations, it's time to get serious... it may not happen."

He said: “Proper consideration of the big picture – accessibility of personalised and professional financial advice to the consumer – is essential for the FAA review to be a success. And importantly, any recommended change must encompass the entire industry – AFA/RFA/QFE and including product providers where applicable and practical. A better model can be adopted in New Zealand with all players participating to achieve a better outcome, focused on the delivery and accessibility of advice. The time is now. We need to design rules and guidelines that will ensure accessibility of advice for consumers is not only embraced by the industry, but also applied practically across the industry.”

Tags: PAA

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Comments from our readers

On 7 July 2015 at 2:18 pm Stuart Ayres said:
A small step an adviser can take right now to improve access to professional advice is to promote consumer access to their dispute resolution process on the home page of their website. This will indicate to the consumer that they can have confidence in the transparency and professionalism of their adviser because there is access to a third party in the event there may be a problem that they cannot resolve themselves. A recent Colmar Brunton qualitative survey to help inform the FAA / FSP Review, found that “…the existence of the dispute resolution schemes …..give them a measure of confidence in the financial services sector.” Isn’t that what it is all about? The schemes require their members to have, promote and make an internal complaints process and external dispute scheme accessible to their consumers. Simply disclosing on disclosure statements doesn’t really cut the mustard for the promotion and accessibility aspect of this compliance where the website has become the primary medium for promotion of services and credentialing. A number of financial service providers are now “getting” the benefits of credentialing their transparency, authenticity and doing what’s right by the consumer without fear of promoting an independent third party dispute resolver. I wonder why most advisers fail to get it. What have they got to lose? But importantly what are they not gaining? Look through the consumer lens for a moment. What would you think of a service provider inviting you to complain to a third party if something went wrong? Discerning between two similar sites, who would you prefer? The one inviting and making it easy to give your feedback, or the one making it confusing and difficult for you to express your concern. You’ve all experienced the frustrations with the latter. Are some of your providers and competitors getting the march on you? Take a look at their sites. Take a look at new on line retailers seeking to credential themselves in the absence of prior awareness and reputation. Professional advisers may be missing an opportunity to quickly connect with and gain confidence of a prospective consumer looking for financial advice.

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