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Getting to Know: Richard Klipin

Richard Klipin is tackling the job of rejuvenating the FSC in a period of big change for the industry.

Friday, July 28th 2017, 11:30AM 1 Comment

by Susan Edmunds

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Richard Klipin, Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Services Council. The FSC is the peak industry body representing the wealth management sector with a focus on life insurers, wealth managers (Kiwisaver & Super) and funds managers.

How did you get into the industry?

Way back after finishing uni in Sydney, I was looking for a career that could combine my areas of interest – economics, people and education. I didn’t realise then, but the financial services sector was on the cusp of huge change, with the introduction of mandatory superannuation. And so, I started my journey in the sector.
It has been a fantastic experience and I’ve been lucky to have had so many great opportunities and worked with some exceptional people over the past 27 years.

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

There is lots to do in our industry. However, despite all the change, the nature and purpose of the sector has not changed since inception, and that is to give people:

1) Choices in the good times (savings, investment and retirement)
2) Dignity during the tough times (illness, accident and death)  

Let me share two personal stories which speaks to the good we do and the value we create in our sector. In my close family, I have seen the best of what we do as a sector.

First, a very close family member died way too young, leaving a young family. It was his adviser and his life insurance company that came together to provide the benefits his family needed most. The care and sympathy when tragedy struck was so real, and it gave me such an appreciation of the purpose of our sector and the people who turn up every day to serve their clients and their communities.

Secondly, my parents have been retired for 15 years. The care, diligence and skill of their adviser, and the investment expertise of their fund managers, has seen them lead a rich and purposeful life in retirement. It’s not been about investment performance or costs or MERs but more on guiding them through life change, life goals and helping them to make informed and educated decisions. 

So, the one thing I’d change about our sector is to make sure we get more New Zealanders engaged in the products, services, advice and education in our sector, so that they can have the choices throughout their lives that we can provide.

What’s the best advice you have ever received?

I have been very lucky throughout my career to have great coaches and mentors. However, it starts at home and the example my parents set in living life to the full, with a core moral compass that respects people and diversity. It has been a great piece of foundation learning.

The other piece of advice which I have tried to distill into a life and work philosophy is the three “P’s”: people, passion and purpose.

What could financial advisers learn from other industries?

Plenty. Imagine if in our market place, we could combine the excitement of Apple's latest iPhone, with the consumer focus of Air New Zealand’s proposition and the marketing buzz of Nike. And now make this a committed journey with a skilled adviser and coach over a lifetime. This would be an industry and service in huge demand, growing.

What surprised you about New Zealand when you moved here?

Coming to New Zealand has been fantastic. I have been coming to New Zealand for holidays and work since the 1990s, so I knew the place quite well. But of course, living here is different. All the surprises have been on the upside. These include: a happy place with optimistic, innovative can-do people; hard-working skilled professionals; a professional culture of collaboration and trust; a real sense that people really do care for their neighbour and their communities; no huge 'Keep Out' fences at schools.

On the professional side, I see a market and industry on the cusp of great change. KiwiSaver at 10 years old, with over $40billion FUM is a great catalyst for robust discussion on the nature of work, the future of retirement and the great literacy discussion. 

All the work the FMA, MBIE and the industry are doing around the FAA, codes of conduct and looking to lift the trust and confidence of the sector is important. We are in the trust business and so lifting standards continuously and owning that responsibility - because it’s the right thing to do - is critical for the health of the sector.

What do you think we could learn from Australia?

There is lots to learn from Australia, particularly in our sector. The Superannuation system is massive, the fourth largest in the world with over $2.154 trillion of assets. This has driven huge demand. The financial services sector is the largest part of the Australian economy; an engine room of growth, an exporter, a huge employer and is now driving innovation and change through the whole economy.

The sector has gone through massive change and intense scrutiny over the past 10 years.

Bold and visionary leadership drove the super sector over the past 30 years to give Australia its current standing, so long-term, patient decisions are key.

What do you see as the role of professional associations - is there anything they could be doing better?

The role of associations is a key one.

The role of the FSC and Workplace Savings is to be the voice of the sector; to represent its members views, to advocate, to lobby and to lead.

We are focused on five key areas of work:
1) Policy and advocacy
2) Industry Best Practice
3) Industry leadership and insight
4) Building a community of professionals
5) Developing the capability of the FSC

What will be the key to success for the FSC?

The key to success is to galvanise the industry and our people to come together for the benefit of New Zealanders.

Are you a KiwiSaver member?


If so, what’s your investment strategy?


Outside of work what do you do?

I have a passion for family, soccer, push biking, hiking, edible gardens and playing guitar.

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

Fantastic - now what can I do to help?

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

I'm an Aussie from Sydney, born in South Africa and now living in New Zealand, who is pescatarian.

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

Running international bicycle study tours to financial services innovation hotspots. That would be fun.

Tags: conduct financial advisers Financial Advisers Act FMA FSC funds management Getting to Know investment KiwiSaver Life insurance NZ Super retirement superannuation workplace savings nz

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Comments from our readers

On 30 July 2017 at 10:44 am Carey Church said:
Hi Richard, welcome to New Zealand (and if you organise those bike tours Peter and I will be right there as your first clients!!)

I'm very impressed with your summary of what the industry does:
1) Choices in the good times (savings, investment and retirement)
2) Dignity during the tough times (illness, accident and death)

I am sure that other people have seen it before, but I haven't and I think it encapsulates what we do in our work perfectly. May I use it on our website please?

But more than that I am impressed with your interpretation (through personal experience) of what we do as advisers.

Although products provide the solution, the caring and dignity and guidance and advice and mentoring are all human skills and attributes and our team and our colleagues strive to deliver to our clients.

It would be fantastic if those benefits of financial advice got far more media coverage than the focus on MER's, fees' and products.

I hope that the FSC can assist in promoting that side of our service (along with the new FAA).

Kind regards. Carey

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