Instead, they should meet their obligations bit by bit.
Risk and compliance expert Cecilia Farrow told a Financial Advice NZ webinar that just passing tests to earn Professional Development credits was not enough.
“This is where you have to be brutally honest with yourself,” she said.
“(You have to ask), am I just meeting expectations or am I really missing the boat on this, and I have got a lot of work to do.”
Farrow listed 10 sets of rules, that advisers needed to focus on. They governed things like establishing proper relations within the office and with clients, meeting regulatory requirements, keeping proper records and other obligations.
The rules “are a tool that can help you lift your advice path to success by giving you a process to identify your personal development areas,” Farrow said.
“One of the key things about a professional development plan is that it is not just about your technical knowledge.....it is as much about your soft skills such as communication, relationship-building, teamwork, consultative selling skills....all these things form part of your competence.”
Farrow urged advisers not to try to do everything at once, but to focus on two to four rules over the next six to 12 months.
“For me, if I was doing this for myself, the ones I would decide to focus on would be the ones where lower performance has a greater negative impact on either the sales success of my business or my compliance requirements.
“This is because if I am failing in meeting my regulatory and compliance requirements, and I was audited, I could lose my licence.
“If I am failing because I am just not as competent in my softer skills....and it is pulling down my conversion and engagement ratios, then I am sure that would be a priority for me to focus on as well.”
Under the Code of Professional Conduct (CPD) for financial advice services, advisers must do a set amount of study for each 24 month period. This would include time spent studying ethics.