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Travel agents get their financial advice wings

Covid-19 has wrecked international travel and agents are now looking to become financial advisers through a new scheme.

Sunday, December 6th 2020, 5:11PM 8 Comments

A new scheme, with government funding, is helping Flight Centre travel agents become financial advisers.

In a deal between between Travel Managers Group (TMG), online financial information service Ratebroker, and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) travel brokers are being enoucraged to become financial advisers.

The partnership will allow the travel brokers to be employed through Ratebroker, and provide them with access to a fully-funded comprehensive training and mentoring programme. The retrained brokers will be able to offer clients life and health insurance, mortgage protection and income insurance protection, in addition to their usual travel offerings.

Clients will only be able to receive financial advice from brokers who have completed the required training and mentoring programme. Each participant will receive a one-year fixed term contract and an opportunity to work across both industries on an on-going basis, with financial certifications and registrations behind them.

MSD funding will be used to help with the cost of the initial 12 weeks training, registration and certification. 

TMG general manager Cath McLeod says “Our highly skilled travel brokers hold fantastic client relationships that are built on trust. They’re in tune with what’s happening in clients' lives, and they’re already a part of major life events like weddings and relocations, so pivoting to insurance is a natural progression.

“The partnership was created to expand the portfolios and earning potential of travel specialists, at a time when international travel is at a record low” she said.

“Seventy three percent of our brokers are women, statistically some of the hardest hit by unemployment during COVID, and it’s important for us to keep them working”. 

“Clients...will soon be able to receive advice on a range of insurance services under one roof, from a trusted and familiar face.”

Ministry Social Development Director of Industry Partnership,  Amanda Nicolle, said the government department "is pleased to be able to support these travel brokers to retrain so they can expand their knowledge and continue to use their customer service skills."

“The partnership gives participants the certainty of being employed with a one-year fixed term contract, which is important given the impact Covid-19 has had on international travel and their income as travel brokers.”

Ratebroker founder and chief executive Matthew Grant said the partnership will be delivered through Ratebroker’s financial advice business Foundation Advice Limited.

“This will allow us to offer advice from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island,” Grant said. “The training and 12-month mentoring programme allows participants to earn a full-time wage while they train, which we believe is unique in the industry at such a scale."

“We are particularly excited by the number of potential women participants for the programme as the financial advice industry is currently significantly skewed towards men and we are strong believers in diversity, inclusion and respect being the bedrock of any successful business.”

Tags: Ratebroker

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Comments from our readers

On 7 December 2020 at 9:13 am John Milner said:
Wow, April Fools’ Day came around pretty damn quick. I thought it was only December.

Can’t wait to start selling cruises in 2022!
On 7 December 2020 at 11:23 am LNF said:
Now you now what low regard MSD has for AFA's and RFA's
On 7 December 2020 at 9:55 pm Murray Weatherston said:
This is bizarre.
Can anyone find Ratebrokers on FSPR?
I couldn't find the company.
There was one idividual registered trading as Ratebrokers but he deregistered in 2017 from memory.
I am sure every existing insurance and/or mortgage brokerage would love a MSD subsidy to take on a trainee from outside the industry
On 8 December 2020 at 10:46 am Murray Weatherston said:
You will find them under Foundation Advice. The company was registered on FSPR 19 Novemeber 2020 and there is 1 individual associated who was registered on 25 November 2020.
For completeness Foundation Advice Ltd was registered as a company on 12 October 2020.
On 8 December 2020 at 12:08 pm Backstage said:
Murray, why would Ratebrokers need FSP registration? Foundation Advice has one. If it helps kiwi's and keeps folk employed, cant be bad. The trick will be enrolling all candidates for L5 before March 15th... mentoring, training... challenging!
On 9 December 2020 at 11:27 am Matron said:
Advisers now know where they stand when MSD will provide 12 month funding for new Adviser support, yet MBIE have refused to fund established training organisations for Level 5 support for new Advisers.

Would you like a trip to Stewart Island with my portfolio recommendataion?
On 9 December 2020 at 12:38 pm gavin austin adviser business compliance said:
Hi Backstage - all very good but how is the mentoring regarding knowledge, competancy and skills (KCS)going to work for these people. Let's say they get 50 people on board with no KCS - a very big task for some one to have oversight and for the FA to comply with the code. I've researched the background of most of the people behind this outfit and none of those appear to have any industry knowledge etc ie KCS. If I was still at FMA i'd be recommending that they be all over then like a rash otherwise how are we going to protect the unsuspecting public from substandar advice. Just a few of my thoughts.
On 11 December 2020 at 8:24 am JPHale said:
I don’t have a problem with the inititive for employment reasons, however the KCS sapect is seriously in question.

Past experience with cleints coming to me with substandard travel insurance advice suggests there is a massive gap to be filled.

It’s not that the required systems and process can’t be rolled out, that can be done over night, it’s the KCS aspect of gettign these people up to speed.

From my NZHL experience it is possible in the time available, but only to a basic level. If they are looking at 2023 as the due date, they have plenty of time, but they have also missed the mark on the due date...

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