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New code working group: your future's in their hands

The working group who will develop the new Code of Conduct for all financial advisers has been announced – and it includes just one adviser.

Wednesday, June 21st 2017, 12:16PM 15 Comments

Commerce and Consumers Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean

The new code will apply to all financial advisers in the industry under the new rules, including those who are currently registered financial advisers.

The members of the group are:

  • Angus Dale-Jones (Chair) previously a board member of the Professional Advisers Association (PAA).
  • Barbara Benson (Consumer and/or Dispute Resolution Representative) previously Manager, Teacher Education at the Education Council of New Zealand
  • Brian McCulloch (Consumer and/or Dispute Resolution Representative) is an independent consultant, an Independent Director at Utilities Disputes Limited
  • John Berry is the CEO of Pathfinder Asset Management
  • Graeme Edwards is the general counsel and company secretary at ASB Bank.
  • Paul Mersi is currently an independent consultant
  • Rebecca Vanderbom is the head of financial advice delivery and service, Milford Asset Management and an AFA.
  • Shane Edmond is the head of private client services at Forsyth Barr and a member of the current code committee.
  • Therese Singleton is the general manager, sales and advice, at AMP.

David Ireland, chair of the current code committee is not among the number.

“The new code of conduct will be wider in scope than the existing code and will set standards of competence, conduct and client-care for the whole financial advice industry,” Commerce and Consumers Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean said.

“This change in scope is part of the review of the Financial Advisers Act 2008. The group’s new code will reflect proposed changes in legislation aimed at creating an even playing field of regulation across the industry, including a universal code of conduct for all individuals and institutions giving financial advice. To recognise this, the code working group is being established as a new body, with an expanded mandate from that of the code committee under the current regime.

“I believe the members of the code working group demonstrate a strong understanding of the changes to the financial advice regime and the role which the code will play in the overall system. In developing the code, the code working group must consult with industry bodies, consumer representatives and any other interested parties to ensure everyone, including small-adviser businesses, has a chance to give their input,” Dean said.

The working group will go on to become the code committee that administers the new code.

Tags: Code Committee

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Comments from our readers

On 21 June 2017 at 12:35 pm Ron Flood said:
Please excuse my ignorance but please explain who the adviser is as I can only recognise a Product Sales Representative in the mix.
On 21 June 2017 at 1:03 pm gavin austin adviser business compliance said:
Good comment Ron. There is one AFA form a Managed Fund, 3 from the BIG end of town, 1 Independant Consultant who if google searched comes up Zilch , 2 from Managed Funds (incl the AFA), 2 from Consumer or Disputes (wow).

The only person of any relevance is Angus Dale-Jones whom I have always found to be very professional and totally unbiased despite his regulator background.

So the Code IMHO will more than likely be a mess or favour the Big End of Town. Good luck Angus in trying to manage this rather motley lot.
On 21 June 2017 at 1:14 pm Pragmatic said:
You bet me to the punch Ron: where is the adviser?

Stating the obvious - would it not be beneficial to capture the insights of the community who are going to be impacted the most?
On 21 June 2017 at 1:22 pm Barry Read said:
What would advisers know about adviser competency standards Ron.... It is a little surprising there isn't more coal face experience in the committee, especially in the mortgage and insurance space. Consultation and Lobbying will be needed more than ever.
On 21 June 2017 at 1:26 pm Barry Read said:
The press release also states that MBIE hope to have the bill in parliament before the end of the month! Where is the next draft after consultation?
On 21 June 2017 at 2:02 pm AFA said:
let's hope the new Committee is more competent than the last one - who fell prey to lobbying by the Society of Accountants which gave David Ross, an accountant, the loophole he desperately needed to avoid scrutiny. In a typical over reaction (after the horse had well and truly bolted) the FMA went on a witch hunt against DIMS providers, adding much cost and administration to the process.
On 21 June 2017 at 2:38 pm Comprehensive Planner said:
Barry, I think you will find significant knowledge around Financial Competency standards held in the heads of many advisers, which is something I would have thought you would have known.

I concur with Rons' thoughts that there is far too little advisory or financial educational knowledge held amongst this group and far too many ties to financial product providers, again the BEOT seem to be considered independent while those involved in the advisory profession or professional bodies where excluded due to their perceived lack of independence.

The one glint of light is the appointment of Angus as Chair.
On 21 June 2017 at 3:02 pm Licensed Adviser said:
This is worrying. There is not one Financial Adviser setting up the Financial Advisers code!
On 21 June 2017 at 5:15 pm Mr Slater said:
AFA - I think Barry's comment may well have been tongue-in-cheek.
On 21 June 2017 at 6:39 pm Bruce Cortesi said:
Let's not be too hasty in judging outcomes before the process has even begun. It is up to everyone to engage, or not, as the case may be.
On 22 June 2017 at 10:25 am Stephen O'Connor said:
Congratulations to all those appointed to the working group.

However I can't help but feel more than a little dismayed!

In the interests of full disclosure, I was an unsuccessful applicant for the group and I am a member of the current Code Committee.

The reason for my dismay is that there is not one client facing person on the working group nor is there any voice for the independent financial adviser.

There is already enough industry chatter about government capture by the financial institutions (the so called ‘big end of town’) without providing those protagonists with further ammunition. If it is Government policy to restrict the provision of financial advice to those employed by large firms, then they should come out and say it.

The other disappointing thing is that this industry desperately needs leadership if we are ever to emerge as a profession, and the current review of the Financial Advisers Act and now the make-up of the Code Working Group does nothing to assist this. No profession will ever emerge from an industry dominated by institutions whose primary aim is to benefit their shareholders.

I wish the working group every success in developing a code that will provide a framework for competent and ethical advisers to deliver financial advice in a professional manner and in clients’ interests.

Unfortunately they already have a significant credibility hurdle to overcome.
On 22 June 2017 at 12:16 pm Allistar Walker said:
Another tranche of older guys will leave the industry! We are getting what we should expect.

Until we as independent RFA's have one strong body representing us, we will always be pushed around. The shame is that nothing will change as far as the client is concerned. Rogues will still get a look in and rubbish advice will find its way to paper, possibly more from the banks.

Unfortunately the Age of the Regulator and prissy do-gooders is upon us.
On 22 June 2017 at 12:24 pm Mike Naylor said:
I'd like to highlight Barry's point about no experience in the Insurance advice sector. What would all these up-town investment managers know about regulating insurance advice??

Also, given the fact that this code group is meant the create a new code which translates regulation objectives into training/education objectives - nobody with experience in that.

Nobody from the retail market. The AFA sector has just become a lot tougher.
On 23 June 2017 at 8:44 am dcwhyte said:
Mike - and this flies in the face of the IMF recommendation to include resources dedicated to the regulation of the insurance industry. Clearly, this Goverment has no intention of taking notice of such pesky international standards.
On 24 June 2017 at 3:54 pm Tony Vidler said:
Like Stephen O'Connor I am rather dismayed with the balance of experience selected for this group. I say that without meaning to be disparaging to any individual member selected for the Working Group.

Again, like SOC I applied for a place on the Working Group, partly to continue contributing to the shape of regulation and standards which affect us all, but mostly because of my belief that there would be a strong need for pragmatic input from people who know the advice process personally.

Given that the greatest number of soon-to-be-newly-governed advisers are insurance and lending people I believe it important that the Working Group contains at least a couple of members from the retail insurance and lending areas, with deep experience in practice management and advisory work as their core strengths. Naturally one expects them to also have the requisite professional skills, governance experience and to be a suitable "fit", however it is the front line retail advisory experience in the insurance and lending areas which is desperately needed. I am aware of a number of potential applicants for the Working Group who appear to me to have been very capable candidates who would have been great contributors and representatives from the sector.

So there seems to have been no shortage of keen, capable, professional practitioners from the broker world who were willing to help shape the code of the future as far as I could tell. Lack of suitable candidates does not appear to have been an issue therefore.

It certainly then seems odd that not one of these capable people with a deep understanding of the unique issues which arise in insurance (anyone heard of "churn" or non-disclosure affecting investors much?) were worthy of inclusion in a group which could have up to 11 members.

The lack of any such apparent experience cannot provide confidence to a significant proportion of the financial services population that their issues, challenges & aspirations to take their place in a profession are being given serious consideration, let alone understanding.

This is especially true when there are, or were, still a couple of empty chairs available on the Working Group. Not filling those seats with the additional knowledge and skills required, and not including them with the appointed 9, sends a distinct message to one segment of the industry that its views are relatively irrelevant.

One has to form this conclusion when there were good candidates; there was capacity within the Working Group structure for wider representation; there is an apparent lack of skills or knowledge from key areas within the industry; and; when much of our reform has been driven by IMF recommendations this particular recommendation is ignored.

It does not bode well at all really.

To finish on a positive though, the appointment of Angus as Chair is an excellent one as he is, amongst his many skills, a consensus-builder. There is some hope yet.

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