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Cautious approval for options paper

There is tentative support for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s options paper, which will guide the Financial Advisers Act review.

Thursday, November 26th 2015, 6:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

The paper outlines three packages of potential changes.

The first includes small-scale improvements on the current model, such as requiring all advisers to meet ethical obligations to put consumers’ interests first.

The other two packages introduce things such as an “expert financial adviser” who can deal with complex matters and rules for salespeople that allow them not to put customers’ interests first as long as they inform their customers of that.

The paper seems to signal a move towards more Financial Markets Conduct Act-style licensing, suggesting adviser businesses will be required to be licensed and then will take responsibility for the actions of their staff.

Preferred options indicated in the paper include removing the distinction between class and personalised advice, allowing online roboadvice from licensed entities, minimum entry requirements for all advisers, mandatory and structured continuing professional development obligations, competency standards for advisers, uniform streamlined disclosure requirements for all advisers, and more useful industry terminology.

PAA chief executive Rod Severn said the options paper looked positive from an initial reading but more time was needed to consider it fully.

Institute of Financial Advisers chief executive Fred Dodds agreed.

He said it was a good way to look at the next iteration of the regulation. “There are three diverse views on where it could go. Realistically we will probably end up with package four, which  will be a mix of the three packages suggested.”

Dodds said the advisers associations were set to meet the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) again on December 15 and the Ministry had indicated it wanted to workshop the options papers with interested parties.

An MBIE spokesperson said: “We will be working closely with the industry over the next few months to better understand the likely impacts of the potential options and how we can minimise compliance costs for advisers.”

Submissions close February 26.

Tags: Financial Advisers Act

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