Quarter of advisers consider quitting due to stress

New research into the mental health of financial advisers across New Zealand has found an increase in work burnout and deteriorating mental wellbeing.

Thursday, February 17th 2022, 11:43AM 8 Comments

The report released by AIA New Zealand and conducted by researchers Dr Adam Fraser and Dr John Molineux for the company shows that one in five advisers are seeking or have sought medical care for stress, with 15% reporting that their doctor has advised them that they are in a high-risk category for heart disease or stroke.

Sam Tremethick, AIA NZ Chief Partnership Insurance Officer, says the research was done to better understand how operating in a global pandemic, increasing industry regulation, and changing client needs are impacting the adviser industry.

“Financial advisers largely fly under the radar as a sector. They work under difficult circumstances and have challenging roles. So we felt it was important that we better understand how the industry is faring on the whole and identify ways they can be better supported.”

Results found that a quarter of advisers are considering leaving their job due to stress, and a quarter also intend to take stress leave. Furthermore, two in five advisers believe this stress is impacting their ability to get adequate sleep.

More than 60% of advisers who responded to questions about stress said the newly introduced government regulation was highly to very highly stressful, 42% said work overload was highly to very highly stressful, and 37% said meeting future education standards was highly to very highly stressful.

On the flip side 67% of advisers surveyed said they are doing a good job in managing work-life balance, and 44% of advisers said that they feel their ‘personal time is their own’.

Similar research conducted in 2020 across the financial adviser sector in Australia provides a clear caution of the risks Kiwi advisers face if current industry issues aren’t addressed. Across the ditch 73% of respondents had high levels of burnout from stress and 67% had experienced some level of depression.

“Many of the NZ advisers said the increase in compliance and regulation had already had a negative impact on them. They were very concerned that New Zealand may follow the lead of Australia, where regulatory demands have led to advisers becoming disengaged and more likely to leave the industry,” Tremethick continued.

“However, we appreciate the regulatory environment is very different over the Tasman, and maintain that overall the changes in NZ were a needed step to improve the professionalism of our industry, and support good customer outcomes.”

AIA NZ acting chief executive, Sharron Botica, agreed. “Having reviewed the research findings, we believe our role at AIA NZ is to be a catalyst for change by raising the conversation around adviser wellbeing with industry bodies and leaders, and to challenge what we can do to collectively make improvements for the future.”

AIA says it has committed to looking at their own practices for ways to improve and offer additional support to advisers.

Tags: AIA

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Comments from our readers

On 17 February 2022 at 3:36 pm Elephant1 said:
On top of this, there are a considerable number of advisers who are Baby Boomers , and there time is now complete.

Combined with this is the total mess the FMA make of registration 12 years ago. The FMA is going to have to tread very carefully over the next five years.
On 17 February 2022 at 5:23 pm LNF said:
None of this matters. You must put the clients interests first and you can be asked to explain to the powers that be in the growing bureaucratic empire

That has been the narrative for so long now and the industry smiled and said "yes sir".

Boomers have said goodbye. Huge experience pool gone.

Oh dear - how sad - never mind
On 17 February 2022 at 6:11 pm resnter said:
Yeah not ideal with big changes in the lending space and doing study and licencing oh and paying the bills and staff - like Nurses that have had enough not sure what we can do to be noticed!
FMA is intended or not pushing out the young good advisers like myself so as much as they want advisers the flip side is toll is taking too much so will reverse what they intend to do.
On 17 February 2022 at 6:33 pm w k said:
thank you fma, i may be the next casualty ........... for "better customer outcome".

On 18 February 2022 at 9:12 am Dirty Harry said:
this makes me think of the immortal words of the great writers Hetfield, Ulrich and Hammett:
"Careful what you wish
Careful what you say
Careful what you wish you may regret it
Careful what you wish you just might get it
Then it all crashes down
And you break your crown
And you point your finger, but there's no one around
Just want one thing, just to play the king
But the castle crumbled and you're left with just a name
Where's your crown, King Nothing?"
On 18 February 2022 at 9:17 am Cdog said:
I've been an adviser for 17 years. I think the industry has changed quite significantly and you get bogged down chasing people for the correct info (not matter how much you prep them clients have got lazier), analysing millions of bank statements, constantly battling the banks on common sense issues that you are worn out when it comes to the fun part of giving advice.

We are doing twice as much work for more or less not much more income (and still have to deal with clawbacks even though we are doing alot more bank donkey work).

I am not a baby boomer but looking to exit the industry soon as its become too admin focused.

I already followed the 6 step process in all my previous work and recent regulations have just made it a paperwork nightmare.
On 18 February 2022 at 11:17 am T said:
LNF interesting comments not particularly helpful IMHO.... never mind!

The majority of Advisers have always put clients interests first - these changes are less about that and more about covering our butt with long winded documents that repeat what the client already knows, are unlikely to be fully read or referred to again but hey we can tick that register and FMA is happy but is the client happier??????

We are having to spend a considerable amount of time and $ on setting up registers, manuals, long winded documents and less seeing/speaking and reviewing clients how is that keeping clients interest first.

Less advisers is not in the clients interest

More paperwork and much longer reports they won't read are not in the clients interest
Working in a negative industry that insists we set up a Complaints process but not a compliments process is certainly not in a Advisers interest - especially when most complaints are about excessive premiums as clients get older yet we are to find the trend and if it is this then clearly we must not have explained how stepped premiums work.

On top of this the Product Providers are rubbing their hands with glee at the upcoming changes as they will be aiming to push all the blame etc onto Advisers too and yet most of them cannot answer a call within a timely fashion or have trained staff that can answer a question.

I have been an AFA so not new to me but oh so much more intense as we live the life of borrowed money for 2 years until we get the client past the clawback period, reduced income when clients claim on benefits or indeed die, reduced income when markets drop, more costs, crossing our fingers that another Adviser does not cancel our business to rewrite elsewhere (but hey as long as they have a lengthy report!) more paperwork and who do we complain to? would love to see that register which I hope FMA has set up!

I love this industry and did love my job but certainly wondering when we are all going to stop being blamed and stop looking behind us for the legislators knife rather than forward to help even more clients. No wonder the PI insurers don't want to insure us!

So pretty clear why Advisers may be stressed even if they are doing the best they can :-)
On 18 February 2022 at 1:58 pm w k said:
@T: if i may add one more point, how may a stress up adviser with depression contribute to "good customer outcome"?

and the point of PI, i don't have the stats, but i believe one who is under stress and depressed will be more prone to making mistakes than one without. hence, deemed a higher risk. so, can't blame the insurers for declining cover.

do the regulators see that? no, and i don't think they even care one bit.

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