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Support for advisers 'vital'

It will be important to support financial advisers into the new regulatory regime to ensure that New Zealanders’ access to independent advice is maintained, says Fidelity Life’s chief distribution officer, Adrian Riminton.

Wednesday, October 30th 2019, 6:00AM

He said Fidelity Life was positive about the future and felt it was well-positioned for the changes ahead.

Because it was New Zealand-owned and operated, it could make decisions locally about the best way forward, he said. “We’re not relying on people offshore.”

But he said he was concerned about the prospect of advisers dropping out of the industry instead of going through the new licensing process, which starts next month.

Fidelity Life launched its Building Better Businesses programme to try to tackle that.

The insurer wanted advisers to be successful, with strong businesses, he said. “I do have concerns that we will see a number won’t make it so we are gearing up to support advisers as much as we can.

“We really do believe that independent advice is the right outcome for consumers because it gives consumers choice.”

He said Fidelity was having to make changes of its own, including technological advances to help it grapple with its “legacy burden”.

But Riminton said the insurance sector was becoming less about the range of products offered and more about the adviser and customer experience offered. “That’s what we are focusing on at the moment.”

The insurer was also talking to adviser groups to understand how they could be supported into the new regime, he said.

But he said there were some questions to answer about the extent to which they were in the industry. “Particularly when you take into account the ban on volume-based and soft commissions.”

He said because each had a different model, the way they transitioned would vary.

“These are exciting times. There are challenges within that but they create opportunities.

“The whole industry has to evolve to new ways of operating. It’s a positive change … anything we do that increases the focus on customer outcomes is a good outcome for us. We are focused on building a sustainable industry.”

Tags: Fidelity Life Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act insurance Insurance Advisers

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Last updated: 11 November 2019 4:01pm

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