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Adviser diversity important: Stanhope

Sovereign chief executive Nick Stanhope says the insurer is focused on building an adviser network that looks a bit more like the clients it serves.

Tuesday, May 2nd 2017, 6:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

“We are one of the largest trainers of advisers in New Zealand,” he said. “One of the things we work hard to do is make sure we have diversity in those advisers.

“People tend to want to deal with people like them, or within a certain age bracket. What’s important is making sure we’ve got more advisers that represent the country’s demographic more equally. More women providing advice, a balance of middle-aged and young people. Pacific Island, Asian, Indian...”

He said it was natural for some customers to prefer to deal with people in a language other than English and insurance advisers should be available to provide that.

He said the adviser channel would remain important even as roboadvice became more prevalent.

Sovereign supported insurance advisers with digital solutions, he said, so that those who wanted to sell insurance in a digital way through their websites could do that.

But the face-to-face element would remain key. 

“It’s a broad approach. Just like banking, where you can go into a branch, or go online and do it yourself, it should be what people want, not what we want.”

He said advisers had impressed him, in his first year in the role, with how they coached people through difficult discussions about how they could insure against worst-case scenarios.

Stanhope said Sovereign was supportive of the Government’s work to provide better clarity for consumers through its rewrite of the financial adviser laws.

“For people that give advice to be recognised as professionals, that’s all very positive.”

There was still some more detail needed to understand what was coming and how it was implemented, he said. “Our advisers are professional and support a code. We have been very supportive of MBIE and the work they are doing. It now remains to be seen how the submissions are heard and reflected in the material that goes out.”

Tags: Sovereign

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