The financial adviser code ‘concept’ proposal has attracted more than double the number of submissions racked up by the draft legislation underpinning it.
According to chair Angus Dale-Jones, the Code Working Group (CWG) has about 160 submissions to sift through before moving on to the next stage of the process.
The Financial Services Legislation Amendment Bill (FSLAB), which will govern the new adviser code, garnered 72 submissions earlier this year.
“We had a great response with a broad range of comment,” Dale-Jones said. “We’re working through the submissions now but it’s too early to identify any thematic trends.”
He said the CWG should be able to start drafting the code proper in August under a timetable that would “dovetail nicely” with the revised deadline for the FSLAB Select Committee report set down for July 31.
While the new adviser code is being prepared ahead of the legislation it will be enacted along with FSLAB.
Under the original FSLAB plan, the new draft financial adviser code was to have been delivered to the government by this August – a feat that now seems unlikely.
However, Dale-Jones said the CWG would move quickly to drafting the actual code after digesting the 2,000-odd pages of feedback on the ‘concepts’ first tabled in March this year.
As well as attempting to define ‘good advice outcomes’ – since edited down to ‘good advice’ – the March CWG paper outlined how the prospective code would define:
- ethical behaviour;
- conduct and client care;
- general competence, knowledge, and skill that apply to all persons that givefinancial advice; and,
- particular competence, knowledge, and skill that apply in respect of different types of financial advice, financial advice products, or other circumstances.
He said the CWG would embark on a final round of consultation on the draft code before presenting it for government approval. Once signed-off, the new code would affect a dramatically-expanded audience beyond the 1,800 or so authorised financial advisers (AFAs) captured by the current standards.
The recent Australian Royal Commission (RC) into financial services has also set a further “context” for the draft NZ adviser code, Dale-Jones said.
For example, he said the RC has highlighted the importance of corporate ethics in building customer trust.
“There’s lessons from [the RC] for lawmakers too,” Dale-Jones said. “It’s not just about compliance with the rules but we have to ask if the rules are structured in the right way.”
FSLAB and the new code should be in operational by early next year.
“The code consultation is actually less about the document itself than talking to each other and finding fresh ways of thinking about things,” Dale-Jones said.