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Quality mark questions

A quality mark system is coming - but what will it mean, and how will it fit with the CFP designation?

Thursday, November 9th 2017, 6:00AM 2 Comments

by Susan Edmunds

Nigel Tate

It has been revealed that when Financial Advice NZ launches next year, it will administer a quality mark for its members. But establishment board chair Sue Brown said details of what that would involve would not be revealed until the site went live next year.

Financial Advice NZ’s constitution said it would enable members of the public to identify advice given by a qualified adviser and member of the association.

Nigel Tate, who is former president of the IFA and a CFP, said a group from the institute was set to talk to the Financial Advice NZ establishment board at its next meeting to discuss the quality mark and how it would work.

He said a quality mark scheme was a good idea on face value, but "the devil is in the detail". 

If it was set at the level of declaring which advisers had a level five certificate, that was "at least something", he said.  "But under the new regulation it's likely that'll be the new standard anyway so it's not a quality mark as such."

He said it was important to IFA members, particularly those that were CFP, that their standard was maintained.

In the past, a lesser AFP and ALU standard had been available but that had been sidelined because it detracted from the CFP and CLU designations. "Advisers got to that stage then stopped. That's not what we're wanting."

He said merely being a member of Financial Advice NZ would not be enough to qualify for a quality mark. "If to be a member all you need to do is sign up and pay your subs, that's not much of a quality mark at all."

Adviser Ricky Bennett, of Kepler Group, said anything that enhanced consumer confidence in dealing with the profession was a plus.

He said he did not promote his CFP status at present.  “I guess it’s how it’s promoted and the benefit that it brings.”

He said the industry should be focused on how to help potential clients know who to talk to under the new regime.  When advisers are no longer divided up into RFAs and AFAs, it would be important that clients understood who could talk to them about insurance and who would specialise in investment.

“The main thing is to make sure that clients see people with the right skill set so they get the solution they are looking for.”

A practitioner college system might be the easiest way to solve that he said, with colleges for insurance and investment advisers. “But you don’t want to make it harder than it has been.”

Adviser Murray Weatherston said the quality mark was unlikely to work. “I don’t see any benefit. Unless everyone has got it they run into problems of how do you promote it? If you’re a member with a quality mark but I’m without it and we pay similar subs how can the organisation promote you ahead of me when we’re competing?”

Brown said it was unlikely the Financial Advice NZ board would have anything to say until later in the year “aside from the regular newsletters we’ve committed to provide”.

Tags: AFA CFP Financial Advice New Zealand financial advisers IFA Insurance Advisers Murray Weatherston Nigel Tate regulation RFA Sue Brown

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Comments from our readers

On 9 November 2017 at 9:37 am Another AFA said:
I congratulate Financial Advice NZ on the initiative and look forward to achieving the quality mark. In my opinion, all activity from the association (are we allowed to call it that?) that generates interest in Financial Planning and Advice within the public arena is positive. I don’t agree with the comments that the association needs to be concerned that some members have the mark and some members don’t – its about promoting financial advice in general. Advisers should be prepared to do the study and gain the mark, qualification, degree or what ever future designation is needed to enhanced public confidence in our profession. Such initiatives as the quality mark should elevate advisers above competitors that elect not to undertake such education. As a CFP, I value the study and education material that I undertook to reach that level and I proudly use the CFP email logo “The Sign of Good Advice”.
On 9 November 2017 at 3:38 pm John Milner said:
Unfortunately but not surprising Another AFA, we will get detractors throwing stones at the new association, coming from far less significant groups ie less than 60 members, no real education paths, no discipline process, no meaningful governance. I too congratulate Financial Advice NZ and fully support the idea.

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