The advisory industry body Financial Advice NZ has had a demographic makeover during the last 12 months, according to chair, Sue Brown.
Brown told the 500 or so delegates at the group’s annual conference in Auckland last week that the proportion of female and younger members increased significantly since 2018.
She said women now represented almost 40 per cent of the member base compared to just 26 per cent last year. About 27 per cent of members now are aged over 49 while 47 per cent were in that age bracket last year.
“That change will continue,” Brown said, to the point where the membership better reflects the broader NZ population.
About 90 per cent of the combined membership of predecessor industry groups – the Institute of Financial Advisers (IFA), the Professional Advisers Association and NZ Financial Advisers Association – shifted across to the new merged body when it launched early in 2018.
Currently, Financial Advice NZ boasted almost 1,700 members, Brown said, of which about 60 per cent are registered financial advisers (RFAs).
Both the RFA and authorised financial adviser (AFA) designations will disappear once the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act (FSLAA) regime kicks off next June.
The conjoined industry body had accumulated a small financial surplus in its first year of operation, which was “quite extraordinary for a baby organisation”, she said.
“But we need to get bigger so we can have more resources to help you,” Brown said.
The organisation would focus on its core goals of providing advocacy, promotion and standards for its diverse mix of financial adviser members – comprising insurance, mortgages and investment specialists – during “this time of change”.
She said the association would be helping members adapt to the coming FSLAA licensing regime, which would require a major change in business structures for many advisers.
Katrina Shanks, Financial Advice NZ chief, also said the industry body would need to grow to build “more credibility” in the political and public arenas.
Shanks said the group had support from several “business partners” to fund research backing up the value of advice that would be released in the next few months.
“We plan to be more vocal on more issues,” she said.
About 9,800 consumers had used the group’s adviser referral website tool in the first year, Shanks said, “and now that’s up to 19,000”.
Fred Dodds, former IFA chief, picked up the group’s ‘Service to the Profession’ gong in a gala award event that also named winners in a number of award categories, comprising:
- Outstanding Adviser, Insurance – Peter Leitch, SHARE;
- Outstanding Adviser, Lending – Maria Thackwell, Maria Thackwell Mortgage Company;
- Outstanding Adviser, Financial Planning – Tim Fairbrother, RIVAL Wealth;
- Rising Star Award – Sarah Bloxham, Let’s Talk Mortgages;
- Outstanding Support Person Award – Liz Cannon, Westpac;
- Community Services – Darcy Ungaro, Ungaro & Co Financial Advisory Services; Garth Clarricoats, SHARE; and Marie Quinn, Marie Quinn Financial Services.
In a statement, Shanks said: “These awards are about celebrating success and excellence in financial advice; they are an important opportunity to acknowledge those who are providing exceptional service for Kiwis and helping to build positive awareness of our sector.”
Next year, Financial Advice NZ would host the annual conference in Christchurch – the first in the FSLAA era.