Financial Advice NZ wants new govt to give advisers a breather

The main message from Financial Advice New Zealand (FANZ) to the new government is essentially “give us time to breathe.”

Interim FANZ chief executive Tony Dench says he's pleased that the National, Act and NZ First coalition government “isn't rushing into regulatory changes.”

“What I'm really looking for is to see a considered and deliberate approach and constructive engagement with the financial sector to make sure that any revisions work well for suppliers, financial advisers and consumers,” Dench told GoodReturns.

The government has published a 49-point plan of what it intends to achieve in its first 100 days and Dench says he's pleased it doesn't include the review of the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 (CCCFA) that the new government has promised.

That's despite it being one of the most complained about piece of legislation affecting the financial services industry and despite much tinkering by the previous government to try and make it more workable.

The central opposition to the CCCFA is that it was intended to capture fly-by-night-type operators but instead made it much more difficult for the mainstream banks to lend on mortgages.

Dench says his industry needs “a breathing space” after implementing so many new regulations in recent years.

“Financial advisers have completed education to achieve Level 5 qualifications and over a third of Financial Advice NZ members have gone on to achieve a Trusted Adviser accreditation,” he says.

“This provides consumers with certainty that the adviser is committed to ongoing professional development, including having completed a professional ethics workshop and has a minimum of three year's adviser experience.”

Dench didn't deny that the CCCFA is perhaps the most hated piece of legislation affecting the financial sector that was brought in by the previous government.

“Any changes that we might see from the incoming government would be better with a considered and deliberate engagement with the sector,” he says.

“That's the way to get it right for all parties.”

As well as grappling with the new education standards and other regulations, financial advisers have also been working hard for their clients “at an incredibly challenging time. The economy is very challenging for their clients at the moment,” he says.

Perhaps the item on the 49-point plan likely to affect the financial sector most is the plan to narrow the Reserve Bank's remit to focus solely on price stability, removing the requirement to aim for maximum sustainable employment.

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