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Class DIMS not just for the big guys

A financial adviser who has been licensed to provide class DIMS services says it should give reassurance to other independents that licensing is not just for the big operators.

Friday, September 11th 2015, 6:00AM 1 Comment

by Susan Edmunds

Fiona Judd's firm, Fiona Judd Investment Fiduciary, is the smallest financial advice firm licensed to provide DIMS so far.

Another two-person operation, Strongbox, and the three-person InvestmentWorld have also been licensed.

Judd said a class DIMS licence was the only option for her business.

Many of her clients invest though trusts and she did not want to have to go back to all the trustees to have them sign documents every time she wanted to reweight a portfolio.

“The feedback was that they didn’t want to be involved with day-to-day decisions.”

She said she would not qualify to offer personalised DIMS.

But she said the idea of applying for a class licence as a small operation was daunting at first.

At some industry events, large operators had spoken about how onerous the process would be. “They said ‘we must do it for you’, ‘you must sign up with us, it’s so difficult to get one’. But from my point of view, no it wasn’t.”

She said she spent an hour a day for three weeks on the application, uploaded about 25 documents and submitted the application.  After discussions with the FMA, she was approved.

Judd said operating under a class DIMS licence appeared to be set to be business as usual.  Reporting would be no more difficult than the initial application process.

“I can see why a lot of people are put off. I didn’t have anybody else to do it and when large organisations are telling you they spent nine months on their applications, or they appointed someone specifically to the position… when you face that sort of thing you can see a single shingle quailing, wondering ‘what is really going to be required of me?’”

Of the 20 class licenses granted so far, eight are big providers, including Gareth Morgan Investments, Select Wealth Management, Fisher Funds and Milford Asset Management.

Advice firms Kepler Group, Wealth Works, Rutherford Rede, Polson Higgs and Milestone also feature.

Previously, two-thirds of AFAs had indicated they offered DIMS services although the FMA estimated many of them did not provide it. All providers must now be licensed under the Financial Markets Conduct Act to provide class DIMS, or authorised under the Financial Advisers Act to provide personalised DIMS.

Tags: DIMS FMA

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Comments from our readers

On 11 September 2015 at 1:03 pm Murray Weatherston said:
There is still confusion in the above story with respect to the nomenclature in the DIMS space.

There is really no such thing as a Class DIMS Licence - as I understand it, if you have a FMC DIMS licence, you are able to provide either class or personalised DIMS - you don't need to discriminate between Class and personalised. You are simply licensed to provide all DIMS (I guess within the confines of what you have described your processes are in the application)..

Its only if an AFA doesn't have a DIMS licence, or isn't under the umbrella of a DIMS licensee that they need to get an AFA authorisation to provide a personalised DIMS. It doesn't appear as though many AFAs have taken this route as to date it seems there is only 1 confirmed authorisation and a suggestion of a second.

If market participants still don't understand the subtleties of all this, what hope is there that the consumer will?

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