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Sovereign: Don't wait for law to change

Sovereign’s new distribution boss says the upcoming Financial Advisers Act review is likely to simply make clearer obligations that already exist for insurance brokers.

Thursday, February 16th 2017, 2:00PM

by Susan Edmunds

Anna Schubert was recently appointed head of retail distribution at the insurer.

She said the Financial Advisers Act review was set to be one of the most interesting discussions the industry had, “this year, next year or the year after”. “It’s a shift of who is responsible for advisers,” she said.

But she said the obligation to act with care, diligence and skill came in for registered financial advisers with the first iteration of the FAA.

“All that happens now is that someone is responsible for it, who is going to have a lot more responsibility to the regulator. It’s making someone accountable for that. People would mislead themselves to say they will wait until the Act comes in [to make changes].”

Sovereign was considering the support it could give advisers, and having conversations with decision-makers to help it understand the intent of the new legislation, she said.

“The biggest message to people is to get on top of their advice process now.”

She said one of the priorities in her new role would be to connect more closely with the adviser force, and communicate more clearly what was happening behind the scenes at Sovereign.

“We do a lot of things but we don’t always tell anyone about them well,” Schubert said.

She said a key part of her role would be to consider how to “activate the messaging” and provide information to advisers in the way they wanted to hear it. “It’s making sure that the message gets to advisers in the way they want to hear it,” she said.

Advisers had been surveyed on how they wanted to receive information, she said. “It’s quite important we don’t just assume that the way we have communicated in the past is relevant to the future.”

She said the new Ascend loyalty programme was part of a drive to package up Sovereign’s extra services to advisers, beyond holding client business.  Sovereign wanted to know more from advisers about what they saw as adding value, she said. “What is it that advisers really want us to provide? What does value truly mean to them?”

Schubert said she was excited to be in her role. “We are here because we are passionate about what we do and believe more New Zealanders should have insurance. It makes New Zealand a better place.”

Tags: Sovereign

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