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ANZ cans advice service - what next for NZ?

ANZ is dropping a key advice service in Australia.

Friday, May 24th 2019, 6:00AM

It said it would phase out its Prime Access advice offer, which included an annual financial review.

It is part of the fallout from the Royal Commission of Inquiry, which found clients were charged when they did not receive a service.

Now the bank will give advice on a case-by-case basis, and more involved advice work would mean higher fees. Clients will choose how often they want a review.

Managing director private banking and advice, Mike Norfolk said: “We are determined to keep making improvements to the way we offer customers high quality and accessible advice.

“We know we need to think differently about how we do this, which is why we are taking a new approach to providing our customers ongoing advice and phasing out Prime Access as part of that.

“Our new service will give customers complete control of when and how they want to review their financial plan.”

It comes after ANZ unveiled its plan to improve financial planning 12 months ago, which included the removal of all sales incentives for financial planning bonuses and speeding up customer remediation.

Prime Access was first offered in 2003. ANZ started a fee reimbursement approach in 2015 for customers that did not receive an annual documented review as part of their Prime Access package between 2006 and 2013. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission accepted this approach as part of an enforceable undertaking in 2018.

Former IFA chief executive Fred Dodds said it would probably prompt questions in New Zealand.

"I would imagine all the ANZ private bankers and wealth managers will first be checking - or instructed to confirm - the New Zealand version of Prime Access clients to ensure reviews have happened but I am sure ANZ New Zealand won’t be shutting up shop like Australia – they run a pretty good shop here in NZ."

Banking expert Claire Matthews, of Massey University, agreed it would mean more scrutiny.

"I would expect that they will be reviewing their NZ offering to ensure that the issues identified in Australia are not present in NZ, and they will then adjust their NZ offering if necessary.  However, it’s difficult to know if ANZ were providing the same sort of services in NZ, and therefore whether any changes will be needed."

A spokeswoman said no immediate changes were planned.

"ANZ New Zealand and ANZ Australia are two separate businesses. We constantly review our financial advice service model and we’re comfortable with the range of services we offer our customers in New Zealand."

Tags: ANZ

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