First Financial Advice NZ CEO announced

Former National Party MP and chief executive of the Funeral Directors Association, Katrina Shanks, has been named as the first CEO of Financial Advice New Zealand.

While Shanks hasn't had a lot of experience in financial services, she has run her own Chartered Accountancy business for seven years and was a low-level management accountant at Westpac. However, she was on the Select Committee which heard submissions on what is now the Financial Advisers Act. Shanks says this experience gave her a good insight into the industry.

Also there were similarities between this role and running the Funeral Directors Association. 

"They were wanting to move from a club-based membership to a profession organisation and they wanted to have a voice. They wanted to be able influence decision and policy makers. They wanted to take the message to the public of after importance of after-life events."

Shanks said she was attracted to the role as she has a history of public service and a "strong belief in helping others."

"I have a strong belief in helping others and helping people do better in their lives," she says.

"Financial advisers everyday help people in their everyday lives to have better financial health."

She says advisers and this industry can make a difference to every New Zealander.

Another thing she likes is the Financial Advice believes in standards, being a profession and having members who give high quality service.

She like the idea of taking a "new, modern, relevant organisation forward."


She says the intent and purpose of the FAA was right but some of the details let it down.

"We were aware it wasn't perfect at the time," however the committee were under time constraints.

She has some understanding of the replacement bill, the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Bill which is currently being heard by a Select Committee. 

Shanks encourages people to get involved in the process: "Collective thought is better than singular thought. I'm a true believer in that. So the more people that submit with rich content and evidence based research behind them then the better legislation you make at the end of the day."


The chief executives of two of the founding bodies behind Financial Advice NZ, Rod Severn and Fred Dodds, will continue working with the association to facilitate and support the transition process.

Financial Advice NZ chairman Sue Brown said the board searched for a candidate who had "a very particular set of required attributes and experience" to help the association "best deliver on the objectives the founding bodies set for us – advocacy, promotion and standards.”

“Looking forward, the advice industry faces new challenges, new opportunities, and considerable change: Katrina brings a unique combination of experience and expertise to navigate that change, deliver on our key objectives and create a thriving environment for members and for financial advice.”

Brown says Shanks has a deep understanding of the legislative process and how to influence policy development, after her time in Parliament as an MP. During that time, she chaired Select Committees and was a member of the Commerce Select Committee.

"During her four years as the CEO of the Funeral Directors Association, Katrina created unprecedented public awareness for the association and its members – constantly in the media talking with Kiwis about important issues and raising profile for members.”

Shanks sees this as a key part of her new role. That is ensuring the public have confidence and trust in financial advisers.

Shanks starts in her new role on June 5.and will be based in Wellington.


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