Mortgage advisers in line for holiday relief

Mortgage advisers could be in line for some relief when they have a holiday or need to go on medical leave.

They will be able to get help from a 'locum', who will take over their business in the same way that medical locums have helped out doctors for generations. 

The scheme has been kicked off by Financial Advice NZ, which is the professional body for about 10,000 financial advisers across New Zealand. 

About 600 of those are mortgage advisers.

Financial Advice NZ chief executive Katrina Shanks says the idea stems from legislation that came into effect in March.

This was the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act, which imposed new regulations on advisers.

They included the need to have a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) as a condition of being a licenced financial adviser.

The BCP would have to include a detailed plan on how to cope with disruption to normal business.   This could be caused by a short holiday, a long trip overseas, a period of hospitalisation or some other health contingency. 

So Financial Advice NZ has copied the work of the medical industry and started compiling a list of locums who could take over a business for a while. 

The scheme was kicked off at webinar on Wednesday, which was addressed by two industry experts, Dean Logan and Leigh Hodgetts.

Katrina Shanks says the webinar attracted a lot of interest and a number of people have already stepped up and expressed an interest in becoming locums.

To qualify, they would have to be licenced advisers themselves.  

As such, they would usually have a business themselves, and that begs the question of why they would step away from their own business to help someone else's business, when they might be a rival, seeking the same custom. 

But Shanks said this was not turning out to be a problem.  

Most people who have stepped up to the plate are sole traders, who are willing to give support to another operator, especially a fellow small bsuiness owner. 

This was akin to two buddies helping each other out, or watching each other's back, only it was being done in a more organised way than a pledge over a beer.   

Larger firms are thought more likely to provide internal cover for absent staff.

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