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QSM not getting royal welcome yet

Advisers say there are still questions to be answered about the Financial Advice New Zealand quality service mark (QSM).

Thursday, April 5th 2018, 6:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

The new adviser association on Wednesday revealed the outline of its plans for the mark.

To qualify, advisers will have to have made a professional promise, meet regulatory compliance requirements, provide third-party references, undertake professional development, meet advice process standards and have at least three years’ experience.

From 2021 all new Financial Advice New Zealand members will be required to have the mark, and two years later it will be compulsory for all members.

Nigel Tate, who is on the member advisory committee for financial planning for Financial Advice New Zealand, said it was good that the mark would end up being mandatory – otherwise the association would end up promoting some of its members at the expense of others.

“In the next five years, they’re in that position, anyway.”

The quality mark was not a qualification, he said, but merely a recognition of the adviser’s process. “It doesn’t mean the person is capable or good at their work. It just means they’ve been assessed as following a process.”

He questioned its value but said he would wait to see more detail.

Tate said his main interest was in maintaining the CLU and CFP standards, which required study, and promoting them alongside the quality mark. “I think they will get there eventually.”

Financial Advice NZ chair Sue Brown said the mark was not designed to compete with CFP and CLU.

It had been deliberately placed so it would not compete with the pinnacle designations, she said. “What we are looking for is the QSM is accessible to all good advisers. All people who do what they say they do will be able to achieve this mark.”

No extra qualification or time investment was required, she said.

Adviser Murray Weatherston said the association seemed to be setting standards above the law.

“They seem to me to be loading more cost onto their members – some will have external practice checks voluntarily, but they seem to be saying they should be mandatory.”

He said it seemed unusual to call the mark a QSM – which is also the acronym for the Queen’s Service Medal to recognise and reward volunteer service to the community and also public service in elected or public office.

Tags: Financial Advice New Zealand quality mark

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