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Getting to Know: Wayne Smith

Wayne Smith would like to see financial advisers charging a fee for service.

Thursday, June 29th 2017, 5:59AM 1 Comment

by Susan Edmunds

Who are you and what do you do? 

Wayne Smith, Chief Executive of the TripleA Advisers Association.

How did you get into the industry?

Initially, I provided some assistance reviewing the TripleA’s constitution in late 2012. Around the same time, the board recognised they needed to bring on some additional resource to help run the association - on a paid rather than largely volunteer basis - and that led them to appoint me as a part-time CEO.

If there is one thing you would like to change about the financial advice industry, what would it be?

It's more a change to NZ Inc than the financial advice industry itself, but it would be great if, over time, more New Zealanders understood the benefits of getting good and genuinely independent financial advice, and that this is a public, good role that adviser professional bodies and industry associations can support.

What’s the best advice you have ever received?

Stay healthy – most good things in life like family, friends, recreation and a satisfying career stem from your health. Healthy, wealthy and wise is an oldie but a goodie!

What could financial advisers learn from other industries?

The ability to charge on a fee-for-service basis like lawyers and accountants would be great, but there are real head winds, both regulatory and in the nature of the New Zealand client marketplace, to making this business model viable in New Zealand.

What do you think the FMA has done well? What could it do better?

I guess, to be fair, they have been handed a very broad regulatory mandate which creates a huge challenge for them to regulate and then police. I’d like to think they have balanced the risks for consumers arising out of large entities, such as banks versus small independent advisers, but the compliance requirements on advisers is quite onerous (and increasing). I think, over time, this will tip the field in favour of the big players and that won’t be in the best interests of consumers in the long-run.

What have been the benefits of regulation?

I think it has lifted the overall standards which is good, but as already mentioned, I think the quantum of compliance costs now imposed on small adviser firms has, and will continue to, fundamentally reshape the industry towards larger entities including bigger adviser firms. Whether that results in better local service or personal advice being delivered to clients is probably an open question.

What role should professional bodies take under the new advice legislation?

There is a group of professional bodies that co-operate closely in terms of advocacy through to MBIE / FMA, who we meet with on a regular basis, lobbying in the interest of advisers. This is important work that many of our respective members don’t necessarily see but is a critical role. As touched on before, I think we also have a future role in reshaping consumers' views on the value of independent financial advice.

Are you a KiwiSaver member?


If so, what’s your investment strategy?

A pretty standard approach. Diversification early on, but increasingly shifting retirement savings to less risky funds as I get closer to retirement age (whatever that is these days!).

Outside of work what do you do?

Anything outdoors and away from a computer or phone; fishing, socialising, family, travel, reading and a bit of voluntary work are all part of the mix.

What would you say if one of your kids told you they wanted to be a financial adviser?

Not that I have to worry about this any more, but it would have been their choice and I would have supported them, regardless of what they were looking at. I’d probably encourage them into a larger adviser firm in the early stages of their career, so that they have mentoring and broader support that helps them get established.

What’s one thing people may be surprised to know about you?

I’ve got no less than three black Labradors, which I’ve discovered is two too many!

If you weren’t in this job what would you be doing? 

Trying to be semi-retired and spend more time fishing like I was before saying yes to the TripleA!

Tags: Getting to Know TripleA

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Comments from our readers

On 30 June 2017 at 1:31 pm Selwyn said:
As a provider to the industry and the public. I can assure that the public is very interested in good honest advice.

It is also in paying for it and many financial and insurance advisors in the profession have charged planning fees from the late 1970's.

This arose from teid agencies where the good planner did a lot of work and then because of loyalty the client placed the business elsewhere.

Soon Bankers, Accountants and Solicitors soon cottoned on and used their services. There has always been a reluctance to do so. Time to move on the world is changing and the technology is here!

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