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Getting to Know: Anand Srinivasan

Anand Srinivasan has been making waves since he gave up working for a provider to work for himself.

Friday, October 6th 2017, 11:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

 

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Anand Srinivasan, and I design insurance plans specific to clients' circumstances covering Life, Disability and Health Insurance Advice.

How did you get into the industry?

I was a new migrant to New Zealand in 2005, and initially did three months business development work in the distribution space for an insurance company. They offered me a permanent role as Business Development Manager at the end of the three months. After a nine year stint with them, I finally ended my corporate career in my last position as National Manager – Key Relationships, to start my own practice as an independent adviser in June 2015.

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

Perception of the public about the value of advice and the value a financial adviser can bring to the table.

To give an example, here is a real life story: I reviewed a client recently who was finding it difficult to pay her insurance premium, which had gone up over the years and was now at $726pm. Having been a recipient of trauma claim in the past, she knew that keeping her insurance policy was critical. However, she was wanting some advice on how to reduce the premium without needing to cancel the cover. As an insurance adviser, I removed the optional benefits from her life cover policy - which were not required for her current circumstances - and changed her occupation on the income protection policy from hairdresser to admin manager, which was reflective of her current role and increased her waiting period as she had savings. These few changes alone reduced her insurance premium to $490 per month - a saving of $236pm, with no compromise on amount and quality of cover. 

The client regretted not having reviewed her policy with an insurance adviser much earlier. All the changes could have been done a few years back, which could have saved her few thousand dollars.

I feel sorry for people who buy DIY insurance and keep on paying insurance premiums without taking advice from an insurance adviser. That is a recipe for disaster.

What’s the best advice you have ever received?

E + R = O, which stands for an E(Event) occurs, and your response(R) to it determines the outcome (O). As an insurance adviser, this advice in practice has stood the test of time for me when a claimable event occurs. The clients tend to be emotionally charged come claim time. So, they need someone who helps balance their expectations and reactions with the insurance company’s requirements, in order to get the best possible outcome for all parties.

What could financial advisers learn from other industries?

Being independent means being responsible to your industry body, abiding by the codes of conduct and setting high standards of governance within your business, like other professions/industries do.

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

FMA has brought in the positive message that there will be minimum standards for entering the industry, and sending the message that the future belongs only to serious players. What FMA can do is ensure the cost of licensing stays reasonable. The cost of licensing should not become a deterrent for independent advisers to survive on their own.

What could be done to improve KiwiSaver?

Educating the masses about the importance of savings, and providing additional incentive if the investment decision is made through services of an qualified investment adviser.

What role do you see for adviser groups under the new rules?

The adviser groups play a vital role in migrating their members to the new regime by education, support and guidance to meet the new regulatory requirements.

What have been the benefits of regulation?

It has brought the industry together to work towards a better future. A good example of regulation is the industry bodies IFA and PAA coming together to launch Financial Advice New Zealand. All advisers will be bound by a common code of conduct which will include competence and qualification expectations, enhancing our value in the eyes of the public, who will have more trust in advice process.

What is the biggest area of opportunity for your business now?

Technology. It is said that a client, on average, looks at his/her mobile phone at least 150 times a day. I often ask myself, “Do you feature your service in the client's world?" Smartphones, coupled with the internet, is bringing the world to our doorstep. Use of technology opens us up to a wide audience and gives us the ability to communicate effectively, be it through social media or blogs. This can have a positive impact on my business.

What’s the biggest threat to financial advisers?

The inability to change. The only thing constant is change. We are going through an era of change, and can expect rapid changes in all aspects of life. What is new today can become obsolete within five years, so advisers have to change their process and habits of engagement to be in tune with the industry changes. A good read about this idea is Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson.

What do you wish the public knew about financial advisers?

Financial advisers are professionals who bring the human face to the process of insurance, investment, mortgage and financial planning. They have the requisite knowledge and experience to simplify the complex process into an easy-to-understand solution, and they will be able to take the stress out of a client’s financial decision-making process.

Are you a KiwiSaver member?

Yes.

If so, what’s your investment strategy?

I trust my investment adviser to decide the right investment strategy in line with my long term goals – we are currently invested in 50% Growth Funds and 50% Conservative Funds.

Outside of work what do you do?

I love the New Zealand outdoors, and like exploring new places with my family. In winter, we enjoy skiing, and in summer, we explore new places in a campervan.

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

It is a responsible job - get into it only if you want to make it a long-term career, as many lives will depend on the plans you write, and will expect you to be there to support them when the need arises.

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

That I am a paraglider pilot.

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

I would probably be part of a distribution team in the financial services industry.

Tags: conduct Financial Advice New Zealand financial advisers FMA Getting to Know health insurance IFA Insurance Advisers investment KiwiSaver Life insurance Mortgage Advisers PAA qualifications regulation technology

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Full Rates Table | Compare Rates

Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
ANZ 5.79 4.95 5.15 5.49
ANZ Special - 4.45 4.65 4.99
ASB Bank 5.80 4.79 4.99 5.29
ASB Bank Special - 4.49 4.59 4.89
BNZ - Mortgage One 6.50 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 5.95 - - -
BNZ - Special - 4.59 4.65 4.99
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 5.90 4.99 5.29 5.59
BNZ - TotalMoney 5.90 - - -
Credit Union Auckland 6.70 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 6.15 5.45 5.50 -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Credit Union North 6.45 - - -
Credit Union South 6.45 - - -
Finance Direct - - - -
First Credit Union 5.85 - - -
Heartland 6.70 7.00 7.25 7.85
Heartland Bank - Online - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 5.75 5.00 5.20 -
Housing NZ Corp 5.79 4.75 4.99 5.29
HSBC Premier 5.79 4.19 4.29 4.89
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
ICBC 5.80 4.59 4.69 5.09
Kiwibank 5.80 4.95 5.15 5.49
Kiwibank - Capped - - - -
Kiwibank - Offset 5.80 - - -
Kiwibank Special - 4.45 4.65 4.99
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Napier Building Society - - - -
Nelson Building Society 6.10 5.10 5.45 -
Resimac 5.30 4.86 4.94 5.30
RESIMAC Special 5.00 - 4.75 -
SBS Bank 5.89 4.99 5.19 5.49
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
SBS Bank Special - 4.59 4.69 4.99
Sovereign 5.90 4.79 4.99 5.29
Sovereign Special - 4.49 4.59 4.89
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 5.75 4.49 4.69 4.99
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 5.75 4.99 5.19 5.49
TSB Bank 5.80 4.80 5.15 5.45
TSB Special - 4.55 4.69 4.79
Wairarapa Building Society 5.70 4.85 4.99 -
Westpac 5.95 4.99 5.19 5.44
Westpac - Offset 5.95 - - -
Westpac Special - 4.59 4.65 4.94
Median 5.82 4.79 4.99 5.29

Last updated: 8 December 2017 7:30am

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