We agree clients should come first.
In late September, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi announced a plan for some important new regime changes for banks, insurers and non-bank deposit takers.
AdviceFirst Chief Executive Mark Ennis says he’s pleased the Government’s new plans reflect AdviceFirst’s long-standing principles.
“When we set up AdviceFirst, we wanted to challenge the way things were done in the industry. Ultimately, we wanted to be a business that provided clients with the comfort of knowing we do things that suit them, not ourselves,” says Mark. “Our priority has been to put our clients first, and that’s central to our wealth management and insurance advice and planning service.”
With that in mind, some time ago AdviceFirst made all Advisers employees on a salary, and with none receiving direct benefits from selling products.
In addition, none of our Advisers are permitted to attend an overseas trip based on sales performance.
This has been in place as a rule for many years. Here’s why. “A common criticism in the financial advice industry is that companies may be perceived to incentivise Advisers to focus on certain products to earn more money or receive some other direct incentive such as an all-expenses paid trip,” says Mark.
“At a minimum these kinds of structures can create a perceived conflict of interest, where a client’s confidence in whether the advice they are receiving is more suitable for them or their Adviser. We wanted to remove the risk of clients having these concerns, so we built a business that is different.”
Mark says AdviceFirst have done a lot of things to change the business and it’s been “gratifying to see these are the same kind of principles the Government has also highlighted as important.”
“We’re committed to continue staying ahead of any changes to legislation and do over and above that to be better every day.” Minister Faafoi said the Government’s planned changes signal fairer treatment for customers from financial service providers. The new regime will be administered by the Financial Markets Authority.
“We will soon introduce new legislation to parliament which will require banks, insurers and other financial service providers to put systems in place to make sure they treat their customers fairly,” said Faafoi. “By taking action to improve conduct, we’re putting the consumer at the centre and helping banks and insurers to restore confidence in their industry.”