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Getting to Know: Jon-Paul Hale

Insurance adviser Jon-Paul Hale wants to see the industry working together much better.

Friday, October 20th 2017, 11:00AM

Who are you and what do you do?

Jon-Paul Hale, life insurance adviser, personal and business risks

How did you get into the industry?

Recruited to help advisers implement technology in their businesses way back in 2000 by Sovereign.

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

The effort on client education, it’s easy to sell poor product and move product to uneducated clients, it’s much harder to provide educated advice. Educated advice with clients results in significantly better outcomes for clients, a more stable client base and less complaints about the resulting claim, as there is never enough cover at claim time, no matter how good you are.

What’s the best advice you have ever received?

There’s been lots, effectiveness over efficiency and don’t sweat the small stuff. Just get on and do it, if you don’t start you will never start, once started it’s much easier to increase momentum.

What could financial advisers learn from other industries?

How to work together better, we’re a bit at the mercy of the insurers and dealer groups from the very easy divide and conquer approach. What’s in their interests isn’t always in the advisers interests and we need to support each other.

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

Engagement with advisers, they have been open to learning more about how we operate to gain a better understanding, somewhat limited by the information the industry has been able to provide them. What could be better, more guidance on situational behaviour, the RFA space has been lightly regulated. Not being a prescriptive environment it needs a lot of information to guide the culture expectations for the industry in it’s many facets.

What could be done to improve KiwiSaver?

Make it compulsory, and drag with it the special deals that exempt people from it with alternate schemes. Keep it simple, one scheme that makes maintaining transparency significantly easier. We need to take a harder line as wealth in NZ is being compromised by the soft touch in this area. Australia has proven the compulsory model works in our sort of culture. Don’t have an opt-out, the employer contribution is in addition to the salary and get on with it. The arguments against this don’t hold water, the world has not ended with KS as it is, employers will just get on with it as will workers.

What have been the benefits of regulation?

Better transparency on expectations, opportunity for businesses like mine which are focused on driving customer outcomes through good systems and business processes. Investment in the business to enable scale has been a significant part of the advantage. For customers a set up in the way advice is delivered, clearer statement of advice delivery and more of it. Though there’s still work to be done here to make it easier for consumers to understand what we do and will deliver for them

Do you support Financial Advice NZ?


What’s the biggest threat to financial advisers?

Banks and their ability to water down regulation to suit their needs, the lobbying disadvantage against advisers in line with my comments above. As advisers we don’t have a significant enough influence at the negotiating table on this. We’re often too busy helping clients and the representation of a couple of association bodies seem to get a bit lost in translation once the banks leverage significant resources in marketing and legal to push their self interest case. The adviser side more often than not is the client focused entity at the table which is often ignored.

What do you wish the public knew about financial advisers?

They are there to help them through what ever goes on in their life, accessing medical treatment, keeping families together, building wealth, protecting wealth and assets, finding finance, planning for retirement, it doesn’t matter, a financial advise is their person when they need them in their corner.

Are you a KiwiSaver member?

Yes, since day one.

If so, what’s your investment strategy?

Growth, I expect KS to support my retirement but not be my sole retirement plan. Investment in Willowgrove Consulting is also part of that longer-term plan. I often joke about my succession plan involving a zimmer frame, while the mind is fine I’ll continue to do what I love to do.

What's different about your business, to that of other advisers?

Anyone who knows me will say the systems, we have a process for everything. I’ve focused on hiring for talent and excellence in the task required. We have completely systemised and automated the business so we can focus in on the things we need to be thinking about, the advice solution for the client, the underwriting and best possible outcome for the cover and the support at claim time to ensure what we have arranged and promised happens as we said.

Outside of work what do you do? 

Family time, mostly with our little one who’s nearly 4, the three adult/nearly adult kids who are pretty self sufficient and have their own interests and life that now getting on under their own steam. Travel when we can.

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

You have to work hard, it’s a tough industry, you get a lot of no’s, you get a lot of misunderstood views, you need to be able to get past those as not being anything personal. It is incredibly rewarding when the plans you have worked through and arranged with your clients work and provide the support they need.

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

I’ve come from a single-parent DPB household, parents split when I was about 5 and all that came with that.

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

Finding a way to do this job. I’ve been around the industry and this is what I’m here to do. I received this recent comment from a client, I’ll leave you with it. "You haven’t lost the human element in what you do, it’s not just a job for you it’s your mission in life and to me that is rare and priceless... I said at the time to you, you had just won Gods employee of the Month!"

Tags: Financial Advice New Zealand financial advisers FMA Insurance Advisers KiwiSaver Life insurance regulation Sovereign technology

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ANZ 8.64 7.74 7.39 7.25
ANZ Blueprint to Build 7.39 - - -
ANZ Good Energy - - - 1.00
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ASB Bank 8.64 7.14 6.75 6.39
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Co-operative Bank - Standard 8.40 7.49 7.29 7.15
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