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Adviser associations band together to fix the Code

Five adviser associations have agreed on six points about the proposed Code of Professional Conduct for advisers and reported jointly to the working group.

Friday, November 9th 2018, 5:30PM 2 Comments

The associations say the wording in the proposed code is too waffly and needs to be strengthened so a clear interpretation of their meaning can be obtained.

For example, in Code Standard 2, “does the right thing” is stated baldly with no explanation.

"Clear and concise definitions are essential to provide clarity for those providing financial services, and most importantly, to mitigate risk for New Zealanders. In general, the wording and phrases used throughout the Code need to be strengthened."

The associations also argue that proposals around professional development need to be stronger.

"Continued Professional Development is a key cornerstone of professionalism; the absence of a minimum requirement for continued professional development (CPD) undermines the concept of a Professional Code. There should be a requirement for financial advisers and nominated representatives to create an annual CPD plan, complete a minimum number of 15 CPD hours p.a. The Code should set out principles for the requirements of CPD."

"The Draft Code incorrectly suggests that a nominated representative and financial adviser are equivalent. This is clearly not the case. In Standard 9, the requirement that a FAP determine learning outcomes and have processes and procedures in place for nominated representatives, is very obviously different from the requirement that financial advisers meet the NZQA qualifications."

The associations agree there are other areas that the Code needs to be strengthened:

  • Investment plans should only be provided by qualified financial advisers. Allowing unqualified nominated representatives to provide an investment plan goes against the intent of the Code, which is to build public confidence and trust.
  • Managing conflicts of interest (Standard 3): This standard is about managing conflicts of interest, not avoiding conflicts of interest. Both the first bullet point - “where practicable, avoid conflicts of interest” - and the reference to the legislation should be removed.
  • The example in Standard 4 is not appropriate. As it stands, the example begs the question: “if the benefits are similar, why would you be changing the policy?”
  • Standard 7 should include: “A person who gives financial advice must provide clear procedures for resolving complaints by clients through both internal and external complaints processes,” and the commentary should make it clear that it is only after the inability to achieve resolution in the internal process, that the complaint be referred to the EDRS.

The effectiveness of the Code Standards is essential to ensure financial advisers and nominated representatives are professional, put the interests of New Zealanders first and to build confidence and trust with the New Zealand public.

The joint submission on the Draft Code of Professional Conduct was made by The Association, Financial Advice New Zealand, IBANZ, SIFA, and Triple A.

Good Returns has a copy of SiFA's submission and will report on that later. SiFA says "the overwhelming tenor of our submission is that the draft Code is both lacking in content and is platitudinous."

Tags: Code Working Group Financial Advice New Zealand SiFA TripleA

« [The Wrap] Advisers will need to earn their trail commissionSiFA slams draft code »

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Comments from our readers

On 10 November 2018 at 7:58 am dcwhyte said:
I attended the meeting on 31st October on behalf of Adviser Group Network [AGN] to discuss the above-mentioned submission.

AGN is a meeting of some of the leading commercial Adviser Distribution Organisations in NZ and is not an Adviser Association constituted as are those cited in the article.

There is, however, a commonality of interest with those organisations and collaboration on the Draft Code was progressed by ciruclating all attendees to the AGN meetings with the proposed submission and media release. There being no objections raised to date, I believe it is appropriate to signal broad support from the Group for the submission.

AGN participant organisations have an estimated 2,500 advisers directly/indirectly managed or associated. The following organisations are represented at the AGN quarterly meetings - in alphabetic order - Foxplan, Kepa, Lifetime Group, Milestone, Mortgage Express, Newpark, Planet, Plus 4, Preferred, Share, Solutions, The Mortgage Supply Company.
On 10 November 2018 at 11:31 am dcwhyte said:
Humblest apologies - apart from the typo - 'circulating' - I omitted to include in the AGN list a very important name
-NZFSG (sorry, Bruce early Saturday morning!)

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