Here's how you can operate at level three

Advisers may have a little more freedom about the way they conduct business under alert level three.

Sunday, April 26th 2020, 4:03PM

Tony Dench, SHARE

As of Tuesday, the country shifts from alert level four to three as part of its continued response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Financial Markets Authority says it expects all financial adviser client engagement work to continue to be done remotely.

But a financial advice firm can open its office for workers who cannot work from home. Although it cannot take in-person appointments with clients.

The Financial Markets Authority has issued financial services guidance, including the advice that workplaces that do open for staff reduce the number on site to maintain physical distancing between them.

If a workplace reopens it must have a formal plan detailing how it will keep employees and clients safe.

“The FMA and RBNZ have been consulting closely with the industry on this issue. The FMA welcomes any feedback or questions from advisers if they are facing particular issues with remote customer interactions,” a spokesman said.

SHARE chief executive Tony Dench said he had reiterated to his network of advisers that if they could work from home they must and so he expected little to change. “I’ve been really proud of the way SHARE advisers have embraced technology to continue to work with clients through the restrictions. They’re all used to being able to work away from the office – just not all of the time and for so long. A phone call to check in with clients, reassure them and to ask them how they’re going is proving to be very popular.”

Financial Advice NZ chief executive Katrina Shanks shared the view that the alert level change meant little.

She said there would be few advice businesses without the technology to work from home. “You may not feel it's as effective as face-to-face but if you can deliver your service remotely that’s what you’re expected to do.”

While financial services, including banks and insurers, is classed as an essential service and allowed to deal with clients in person, financial advisers are not.

Tags: coronavirus Covid-19 Financial Advice New Zealand FMA RBNZ Share

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